Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
De Blasio signed Paid Safe Leave into law on Monday.
By Forum Staff
Mayor Bill de Blasio this week signed legislation that expands the City’s Paid Sick Leave law to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking survivors.
According to the administration, the new law will allow the nearly three million New Yorkers eligible for paid leave to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty or loss of income.
The new law, which takes effect 180 days after Monday’s signing, expands the existing law to allow workers to use paid leave to address safety and access services related to specified criminal offenses. According to the City, the bill does not add to the total amount of leave – no less than 40 hours per year, that workers can take – instead it adds reasons for using the leave to allow a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking or stalking to take time off of work in order to plan their immediate next steps and focus on safety, without fearing a loss of income. NYC is the first city to pass paid safe leave legislation that includes survivors of human trafficking in addition to domestic violence, sexual abuse, and stalking, the administration noted on Monday. Workers who have been the victims of these offenses – or family members who need to assist them – can use Paid Sick or Safe Leave to care for their needs, whether physical, psychological, financial or otherwise.
Examples of uses that will be allowed under this bill include: meeting with and safety planning with a social worker/advocate, meeting with a civil legal attorney, filing a police report, meeting with the district attorney’s office, attending a court appearance, an appointment with a financial counselor, moving into safe housing, and others. The law also expands the definition of family member for all uses of paid time, Sick or Safe, under the law to recognize chosen families, not just biological ones.
City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst) said Paid Safe Leave demonstrates that NYC “is a safe place for survivors of domestic violence. With the mayor’s signing of this important legislation, victims of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and human trafficking will be able to take the time needed to procure protection and services needed to move forward with their lives, without having to worry about losing their job or income.”
Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel added that the passage of Paid Safe Leave “is a tremendous achievement and another example of the City’s commitment to survivors.”