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A new Florida law that took effect July 1, 2007, requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to three days’ leave for a variety of activities connected with domestic violence. Employees who have worked for employers for three months or longer are eligible. Whether leave is paid or unpaid has been left to the discretion of the employer.

The law covers leave for specific activities such as:

• Seeking an injunction for protection against domestic violence.

• Obtaining medical care or mental health counseling or both for the employee or a family or household member to address injuries resulting from domestic violence.

• Obtaining services from victims services organizations such as a domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center.

• Making the employee’s home secure from the perpetrator of domestic violence or finding a new home to escape the perpetrator.

• Seeking legal assistance to address issues arising from domestic violence or attending or preparing for court-related proceedings arising from the act of domestic violence.

Under the new law, employees are required to provide “appropriate advance notice” of the need for leave, unless prevented from doing so because of imminent danger to the health or safety of the employee or a family member. The amount of notice required is determined by company policy. Also, employees must exhaust any available annual vacation or personal leave and sick leave, if applicable, unless the employer waives this requirement.

Employers must keep confidential all information relating to leave for domestic violence.

Employers are prohibited from interfering with, restraining, and denying the exercise or attempt to exercise the rights provided by this law. Additionally, employers may not discriminate or retaliate against an employee for exercising his or her rights. A person claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of the law may file a lawsuit in state circuit court seeking damages (monetary relief such as loss wages and benefits) or equitable relief (such as reinstatement) or both.

To discuss further call : Lisa Cieslica
Senior Human Resources Manager
National PEO, LLC.

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