Survivors of Violence and Sexual Assault Need Earned Paid Sick Time

 

In the United States, more than 12 million women and men suffer from domestic violence, sexual violence or stalking by intimate partners each year. In Michigan alone, 87,871 domestic violence offenses were reported to Michigan Incident Crime Reporting in 2014.

As we continue to work to reduce domestic, sexual and other violence, we must also look at policies that can help survivors recover and heal physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

Survivors of domestic violence often cite financial stability as a reason for staying in abusive relationships. When survivors do try to escape an abuser, keeping a job to provide economic independence can be difficult when they need time off to pursue services to relocate or seek medical attention. Low-wage workers disproportionately do not have earned paid sick leave to access these resources and have to choose between putting their lives or their jobs in jeopardy. An earned paid sick leave policy that includes safe time for domestic violence and sexual assault would provide survivors with the economic stability they need to get by.

A Policy Solution that Helps Survivors

Domestic violence survivors often urgently need to take time away from work to seek help and leave their abusive situation. An earned paid sick leave standard that would guarantee job-protected, paid “safe days” would keep survivors who are seeking assistance from having to risk their jobs or financial security.

Michigan’s earned sick leave referendum would allow workers to earn paid sick time at the rate of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours of paid work. Accrued leave could be used for a worker’s own healthcare needs, to care for a family member’s health, or to seek medical care, victim services, or counseling, or move or take legal action, related to domestic abuse, sexual assault or stalking. Workers in businesses with 10 or more employees could take up to 72 hours of earned sick time in a year; those in smaller firms could use up to 40 hours paid leave and thereafter 32 hours of unpaid leave totaling 72 hours annually.

To stand up for victims of domestic and sexual violence and fight for “safe days” through earned paid sick time, go to www.mitimetocare.org.