Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and stalking will be eligible for paid leave to help them ensure their “immediate safety needs,” under a measure signed into law Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Under the “Paid Safe Leave” law set to go into effect in May, victims who are currently eligible to receive paid sick-leave from their employers, will now be entitled to request paid leave for activities related to their recovery and safety, including attending court hearings, attorney meetings, and counseling sessions.
“No New Yorker should ever have to decide between their safety and a paycheck,” de Blasio said in a statement, shortly after signing the measure into law at a City Hall ceremony.
The new law, approved by the City Council last month, expands upon the city’s 2014 paid leave policy by adding to the list of reasons an employee can seek paid time-off. The list will now include “an appointment with a financial counselor,” and “moving into safe housing,” among other activities meant to safeguard victims, according to the legislation.
The paid-leave will apply to those victims who work for employers with five or more workers who complete more than 80 hours of work in a calendar year. Those who work for employers with less than five workers will be eligible to receive unpaid time-off, according to the legislation.
Last October, de Blasio and his wife, first lady Chirlane McCray, announced the proposed legislation alongside NYPD officials, in what they described as a push to combat the nearly 800 domestic violence calls handled daily by the NYPD.
The measure was sponsored by Councilwoman Julissa Ferrera-Copeland (D-Queens), who said in a statement, the new law will allow victims to “take the time needed to procure protection and services needed to move forward with their lives.”