senate Bill S5954

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the entitlement to unpaid leave of absence for victims of domestic violence

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to labor
Oct 11, 2013 referred to rules

S5954 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Labor
Law Section:
Labor Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 19-D ยงยง696 - 696-i, Lab L

S5954 - Bill Texts

view summary

Relates to the entitlement to unpaid leave of absence for victims of domestic violence; permits victims of domestic violence to take an unpaid leave of absence for twenty days from employment to address on-going domestic violence; defines "address on-going domestic violence"; contains provision to protect the individual's job position and benefits.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S5954

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the labor law, in relation to the
entitlement to unpaid leave of absence from employment for victims of
domestic violence

PURPOSE:

To provide medical leave for victims of domestic violence or sexual
abuse, or for parents of child that was a victim of domestic violence
or sexual abuse, or needs counseling for such domestic violence or
sexual abuse.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Provides for the creation of a new section 19-D of the
labor law, which defines terms, creates an entitlement to medical
leave for victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse, provides
parameters for the grant and use of such leave, and provides a right
to return to a position from which an employee takes a medical leave
because such employee was a victim of domestic violence or sexual
abuse.

Section 2: Provides the act shall take effect ninety days after it
shall have become law.

JUSTIFICATION:

Domestic violence,: often defined as mental or physical abuse at the
hands of an intimate partner, affects the victims' ability to work.
In 2008, in the United States, intimate partners committed
approximately 552,000 violent crimes against women, including 35,690
rapes or sexual assaults, 38,820 robberies, 70,550 aggravated
assaults, and 406,530 simple assaults.* Notwithstanding the prevalence
of domestic violence across demographic categories, it is
overwhelmingly a crime perpetrated against women. Women are far more

likely than men to be victims of domestic violence; the rate of
intimate partner victimization per 1,000 persons is 4.3 for women
compared with 0.8 for men.**

More broadly, African-American, Latina, and other minority women
experience a heightened risk of domestic abuse. The victimization of
minority women is exacerbated by the institutionalized
under-protection and discrimination by the police. Law enforcement's
failure to adequately investigate and respond to reports of violence
-- particularly domestic violence -involving minority and immigrant
women is often influenced by racial and ethnic stereotypes. In
addition, such stereotyping often results in underreporting of
violence and in disproportionate arrests of female victims rather
than, or in addition to, their perpetrators.

In addition, every year, according to Safe Horizons,*** more than 3
million children witness domestic violence in their homes. Children
who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse
or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%). A 2005 Michigan study found
that children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to


have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having
frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and
lethargic.****

It has been found that victims of domestic violence lose an average of
137 hours of work a year. Some victims need time off from work to seek
medical attention; others need time to seek restraining orders, or
relocate to a safe place where an abuser cannot find for further
victimize them. Other victims are prevented from getting to work when
an abuser disables or takes the car, sabotages childcare arrangements,
cancels service to or steals a cell phone, or leaves the victim
without cash to use public transportation.

These problems have led a number of states to pass domestic violence
leave laws, which give victims of domestic violence the right to take
time off for certain reasons. New Jersey signed its Domestic Violence
Leave Act into law in October of 2013 Other states with similar laws
include but are not limited to: California, Florida, Illinois,
Washington and Washington, D.C.

While state laws providing employment rights for victims of domestic
violence are not uniform, there is a clear trend toward awarding
medical leave for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. It is
time New York provided these victims with greater protections, similar
to those done it its sister states.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

None. It is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect ninety days after it shall have become law.

*See 1CPR "Shadow Report" submitted to the United Nations Human Rights
Committee, https://www.legalmomentum.org/resources/iccpi-shadow
-report-domestic-violence-gun-violence-and-syg-laws-sept-2013, last
visited October 8, 2013, citing from the U.S. Justice Department
report, Catalano, S., et al, U.S.Dept of Just., Female Victims of
Violence (Sept. 2009),
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvv.pdf (Table 1 Violence by
intimate partners, by type of crime and gender of the victims, 2008)

** Id

*** See,
httpliwww.safehorizon.org/index/what-we-do-2/domestic-violence-abuse-
53/domestic-violence-the-facts.195.html, last visited October 8, 2013.

****Id.


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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  5954

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            October 11, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules

AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to the entitlement to  unpaid
  leave of absence from employment for victims of domestic violence

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The labor law is amended by adding a new  article  19-D  to
read as follows:
                              ARTICLE 19-D
                       UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR
                 VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE

SECTION 696. DEFINITIONS.
        696-A. ENTITLEMENT TO LEAVE.
        696-B. LEAVE TAKEN INTERMITTENTLY OR ON REDUCED LEAVE SCHEDULE.
        696-C. NOTICE OF INTENTION TO TAKE LEAVE.
        696-D. CERTIFICATION.
        696-E. CONFIDENTIALITY.
        696-F. RESTORATION TO POSITION.
        696-G. PROHIBITED ACTS.
        696-H. CIVIL ACTION.
        696-I. SAVINGS CLAUSE.
  S 696. DEFINITIONS. AS USED IN THIS ARTICLE:
  1.  "VICTIM OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL ABUSE" SHALL MEAN A VICTIM OF DOMES-
TIC VIOLENCE, A SEX OFFENSE, OR STALKING.
  2.  "VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE" SHALL MEAN AN INDIVIDUAL  WHO  IS  A
VICTIM  OF  AN  ACT  WHICH WOULD CONSTITUTE A FAMILY OFFENSE PURSUANT TO
SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED TWELVE OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT.
  3. "VICTIM OF A SEX OFFENSE" SHALL MEAN A VICTIM OF  AN  ACT  OR  ACTS
THAT  WOULD  CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED THIRTY OF THE
PENAL LAW.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD11914-01-3

S. 5954                             2

  4. "VICTIM OF STALKING" SHALL MEAN A VICTIM OF AN  ACT  OR  ACTS  THAT
WOULD CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF SECTION 120.45, 120.50, 120.55 OR 120.60
OF THE PENAL LAW.
  5.  "EMPLOYEE" SHALL MEAN A PERSON WHO IS EMPLOYED FOR AT LEAST TWELVE
MONTHS FOR NOT LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND BASE HOURS DURING THE  IMMEDIATELY
PROCEEDING TWELVE MONTH PERIOD.
  6.  "EMPLOYER"  SHALL MEAN A PERSON OR CORPORATION, PARTNERSHIP, INDI-
VIDUAL PROPRIETORSHIP, JOINT VENTURE, FIRM OR COMPANY, OR OTHER  SIMILAR
LEGAL ENTITY WHICH ENGAGES THE SERVICES OF AN EMPLOYEE AND EMPLOYS TWEN-
TY-FIVE  OR MORE EMPLOYEES FOR EACH WORKING DAY DURING EACH OF TWENTY OR
MORE CALENDAR WORK WEEKS IN THE THEN CURRENT  OR  IMMEDIATELY  PRECEDING
CALENDAR  YEAR. "EMPLOYER" INCLUDES THE STATE, ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION
THEREOF, AND ALL PUBLIC OFFICES, AGENCIES, BOARDS OR BODIES.
  S 696-A. ENTITLEMENT TO LEAVE. ANY EMPLOYEE  OF  AN  EMPLOYER  IN  THE
STATE  WHO  IS A VICTIM OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE SHALL BE ELIGIBLE
FOR TWENTY DAYS OF UNPAID LEAVE FROM THEIR EMPLOYMENT DURING ANY  TWELVE
MONTH  PERIOD IN ORDER TO ADDRESS DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE OR ONGOING
EFFECTS OF SUCH DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE, INCLUDING BUT  NOT  LIMITED
TO:
  1.  SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR, OR RECOVERING OR TAKING CARE OF THE
VICTIM'S CHILD WHILE THE CHILD RECOVERS FROM, ANY PHYSICAL OR PSYCHOLOG-
ICAL INJURIES CAUSED BY THE DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE; OR
  2. ATTENDING COUNSELING SESSIONS FOR THE VICTIM OF DOMESTIC OR  SEXUAL
VIOLENCE OR FOR SUCH VICTIM'S CHILD IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THE EFFECTS OF
THE DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE; OR
  3.  SEEKING  LEGAL ASSISTANCE INCLUDING ATTENDING COURT PROCEEDINGS OR
MEETING OR COMMUNICATING WITH AN ATTORNEY OR A MEMBER  OF  LAW  ENFORCE-
MENT; OR
  4.  SEEKING  SERVICES FOR THE VICTIM OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE OR
FOR SUCH VICTIM'S CHILD FROM A RESIDENTIAL  OR  NON-RESIDENTIAL  PROGRAM
FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE; OR
  5.  ENGAGING  IN  SAFETY PLANNING, INCLUDING ARRANGING TO RELOCATE AND
RELOCATING TO A TEMPORARY  OR  PERMANENT  NEW  RESIDENCE,  IN  ORDER  TO
DECREASE THE RISK OF FUTURE DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE.
  S 696-B.  LEAVE TAKEN INTERMITTENTLY OR ON REDUCED LEAVE SCHEDULE. THE
LEAVE  PURSUANT  TO SECTION SIX HUNDRED NINETY-SIX-A OF THIS ARTICLE MAY
BE TAKEN ON A REDUCED LEAVE SCHEDULE OR INTERMITTENTLY IF  THE  EMPLOYEE
AND  EMPLOYER  AGREE ON THE SCHEDULE. TAKING LEAVE ON A REDUCED LEAVE OR
INTERMITTENT SCHEDULE SHALL NOT RESULT IN A REDUCTION IN THE  AMOUNT  OF
TOTAL  LEAVE  A  VICTIM OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE IS ENTITLED TO IN
THE TWELVE MONTH PERIOD.
  S 696-C.  NOTICE OF INTENTION TO TAKE LEAVE. AN EMPLOYEE SHALL PROVIDE
AN EMPLOYER WITH REASONABLE NOTICE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S INTENTION  TO  TAKE
LEAVE  PURSUANT  TO  SECTION  SIX  HUNDRED  NINETY-SIX-A OF THIS ARTICLE
UNLESS PROVIDING SUCH NOTICE IS NOT  PRACTICABLE.  WHEN  AN  UNSCHEDULED
ABSENCE OCCURS, THE EMPLOYER MAY NOT TAKE ANY ACTION AGAINST THE EMPLOY-
EE  IF  THE  EMPLOYEE,  WITHIN  A  REASONABLE  PERIOD  OF TIME AFTER THE
ABSENCE, PROVIDES CERTIFICATION AS SET  FORTH  IN  SECTION  SIX  HUNDRED
NINETY-SIX-D OF THIS ARTICLE.
  S 696-D.  CERTIFICATION. IN ORDER TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE IS
A  VICTIM  OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE, THE EMPLOYER MAY REQUIRE THAT
THE REQUEST FOR LEAVE BE SUPPORTED BY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
  1. A SWORN STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY THE VICTIM  OF  DOMESTIC  OR  SEXUAL
VIOLENCE  DESCRIBING SUCH VICTIM'S NEED FOR LEAVE TO ADDRESS THE ONGOING
EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE; OR

S. 5954                             3

  2. ANY DOCUMENTATION OF THE DOMESTIC  OR  SEXUAL  VIOLENCE,  INCLUDING
POLICE  REPORTS,  COURT  RECORDS,  STATEMENTS FROM A SHELTER WORKER, LAW
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER, MEDICAL WORKER, COUNSELOR, CLERGY MEMBER,  ATTORNEY
OR  ANY  OTHER PROFESSIONAL FROM WHOM THE EMPLOYEE HAS SOUGHT ASSISTANCE
TO ADDRESS THE DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND ITS EFFECTS; OR
  3.  ANY  OTHER  CORROBORATING  EVIDENCE  INCLUDING  PHYSICAL EVIDENCE,
PHOTOGRAPHS, OR STATEMENTS FROM OTHER INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE AWARE  OF  THE
DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND ITS EFFECTS.
  S  696-E.  CONFIDENTIALITY.  ANY INFORMATION PROVIDED TO THE EMPLOYER,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INFORMATION UNDER SECTION SIX HUNDRED NINE-
TY-SIX-D OF THIS ARTICLE, DESCRIBING THE DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE  IN
THE  EMPLOYEE'S  LIFE  AND  THE  REQUEST  TO TAKE A LEAVE TO ADDRESS THE
EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE, SHALL BE  KEPT  CONFIDENTIAL  BY
THE  EMPLOYER.    DISCLOSURE  SHALL  ONLY BE ALLOWED IF THE EMPLOYEE, IN
WRITING, CONSENTS TO OR REQUESTS DISCLOSURE.
  S 696-F. RESTORATION TO POSITION. 1.  ANY  EMPLOYEE  WHO  TAKES  LEAVE
UNDER  SECTION  SIX HUNDRED NINETY-SIX-A OF THIS ARTICLE, SHALL BE ENTI-
TLED TO RETURN FROM SUCH LEAVE AND BE RESTORED TO THE SAME POSITION HELD
BY SUCH EMPLOYEE WHEN THE LEAVE BEGAN OR BE RESTORED  TO  AN  EQUIVALENT
POSITION WITH EQUIVALENT BENEFITS, PAY AND OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF
EMPLOYMENT.
  2.  THE TAKING OF LEAVE UNDER SECTION SIX HUNDRED NINETY-SIX-A OF THIS
ARTICLE SHALL NOT RESULT IN THE LOSS OF ANY EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS  ACCRUED
PRIOR TO THE DATE ON WHICH THE LEAVE BEGAN.
  3.  (A)  EXCEPT  AS  PROVIDED  IN SUBDIVISION TWO OF THIS SECTION, ANY
EMPLOYEE WHO TAKES LEAVE UNDER SECTION SIX HUNDRED NINETY-SIX-A OF  THIS
ARTICLE  SHALL  BE  ENTITLED TO CONTINUED COVERAGE UNDER ANY HEALTH CARE
BENEFITS PLAN PROVIDED BY SUCH PERSON'S EMPLOYER FOR THE DURATION OF THE
LEAVE.
  (B) THE EMPLOYER MAY RECOVER THE PREMIUM THAT THE  EMPLOYER  PAID  FOR
MAINTAINING COVERAGE UNDER A HEALTH BENEFITS PLAN FOR THE EMPLOYEE ENTI-
TLED  TO  LEAVE  UNDER SECTION SIX HUNDRED NINETY-SIX-A OF THIS ARTICLE,
IF:
  (I) THE EMPLOYEE FAILS TO RETURN TO SUCH PERSON'S EMPLOYMENT ONCE  THE
LEAVE HAS EXPIRED; AND
  (II) THE EMPLOYEE FAILS TO RETURN TO WORK FOR A REASON OTHER THAN:
  (A)  THE  CONTINUATION,  RECURRENCE,  OR  ONSET  OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL
VIOLENCE THAT ENTITLES THE EMPLOYEE TO LEAVE PURSUANT TO  THIS  SECTION;
OR
  (B) OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE EMPLOYEE.
  S 696-G. PROHIBITED ACTS. 1. INTERFERENCE WITH RIGHTS.
  (A)  EXERCISE  OF  RIGHTS.  IT  SHALL  BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANY EMPLOYER TO
INTERFERE WITH, RESTRAIN, OR DENY THE EXERCISE  OF  OR  THE  ATTEMPT  TO
EXERCISE ANY RIGHT PROVIDED UNDER THIS ARTICLE.
  (B)  EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION. IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL FOR ANY EMPLOYER TO
DISCHARGE OR HARASS ANY INDIVIDUAL, OR  OTHERWISE  DISCRIMINATE  AGAINST
ANY INDIVIDUAL WITH RESPECT TO COMPENSATION, TERMS, CONDITIONS, OR PRIV-
ILEGES  OF  EMPLOYMENT  OF  THE INDIVIDUAL (INCLUDING RETALIATION IN ANY
FORM OR MANNER) BECAUSE THE  INDIVIDUAL  EXERCISED  ANY  RIGHT  PROVIDED
UNDER  THIS  ARTICLE OR OPPOSED ANY PRACTICE MADE UNLAWFUL BY THIS ARTI-
CLE.
  2. INTERFERENCE WITH PROCEEDINGS OR INQUIRIES. IT  SHALL  BE  UNLAWFUL
FOR  ANY  PERSON  TO  DISCHARGE  OR IN ANY OTHER MANNER DISCRIMINATE (AS
DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS  SECTION)  AGAINST
ANY INDIVIDUAL BECAUSE SUCH INDIVIDUAL:

S. 5954                             4

  (A) HAS FILED ANY CHARGE, OR HAS INSTITUTED OR CAUSED TO BE INSTITUTED
ANY PROCEEDING, UNDER OR RELATED TO THIS ARTICLE;
  (B) HAS GIVEN, OR IS ABOUT TO GIVE, ANY INFORMATION IN CONNECTION WITH
ANY  INQUIRY  OR  PROCEEDING  RELATING  TO ANY RIGHT PROVIDED UNDER THIS
ARTICLE; OR
  (C) HAS TESTIFIED, OR IS ABOUT TO TESTIFY, IN ANY INQUIRY OR  PROCEED-
ING RELATING TO ANY RIGHT PROVIDED UNDER THIS ARTICLE.
  S  696-H.  CIVIL  ACTION.  1.  BY EMPLOYEE. ANY PERSON DENIED LEAVE OR
BENEFITS DUE UNDER THIS ARTICLE OR AGGRIEVED BY AN ACTION MADE  UNLAWFUL
BY THIS ARTICLE SHALL HAVE A CAUSE OF ACTION IN ANY COURT OF APPROPRIATE
JURISDICTION  FOR DAMAGES, INCLUDING ANY WAGES, SALARY, EMPLOYMENT BENE-
FITS OR OTHER COMPENSATION DENIED OR LOST TO SUCH INDIVIDUAL BY  REASONS
OF  THE  VIOLATION  AND/OR  ANY  ACTUAL MONETARY LOSSES SUSTAINED BY THE
INDIVIDUAL AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE VIOLATION, AS WELL AS  INTEREST  ON
SUCH AMOUNT CALCULATED AT THE PREVAILING RATE, AND SUCH EQUITABLE RELIEF
AS   MAY   BE  APPROPRIATE,  INCLUDING  EMPLOYMENT,  REINSTATEMENT,  AND
PROMOTION, TOGETHER WITH COSTS AND SUCH REASONABLE  ATTORNEYS'  FEES  AS
MAY  BE ALLOWED BY THE COURT, AND IF THE VIOLATION WAS WILLFUL, AN ADDI-
TIONAL AMOUNT AS LIQUIDATED DAMAGES EQUAL TO TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF  THE
TOTAL OF SUCH DAMAGES FOUND TO BE DUE.
  2. BY COMMISSIONER. ON BEHALF OF ANY EMPLOYEE DENIED LEAVE OR BENEFITS
DUE  UNDER  THIS ARTICLE OR AGGRIEVED BY AN ACTION MADE UNLAWFUL BY THIS
ARTICLE, THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSIONER MAY BRING A LEGAL ACTION  NECESSARY
TO  COLLECT  DAMAGES  DUE  TO  THE  VIOLATION, AND THE EMPLOYER SHALL BE
REQUIRED TO PAY SUCH DAMAGES AND IF SUCH VIOLATION WAS WILLFUL, AN ADDI-
TIONAL AMOUNT AS LIQUIDATED DAMAGES EQUAL TO TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF  THE
TOTAL OF SUCH DAMAGES FOUND TO BE DUE.
  3.  LIMITATION OF TIME. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, AN
ACTION TO RECOVER  UPON  LIABILITY  IMPOSED  BY  THIS  ARTICLE  MUST  BE
COMMENCED WITHIN TWO YEARS.
  S  696-I.  SAVINGS  CLAUSE.  IF  ANY  PROVISION OF THIS ARTICLE OR THE
APPLICATION THEREOF TO ANY PERSON, EMPLOYER, OCCUPATION OR  CIRCUMSTANCE
IS  HELD  INVALID,  THE  REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE AND THE APPLICATION OF
SUCH PROVISION TO OTHER  PERSONS,  EMPLOYEES,  OCCUPATIONS,  OR  CIRCUM-
STANCES SHALL NOT BE AFFECTED THEREBY.
  S  2.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law.

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