Councilman seeks permanent domestic violence leave law

City Councilman Bill Greenlee got some grumbles from the business community when he first introduced his Domestic Violence Leave bill, which requires employers to allow four to eight weeks of unpaid leave for domestic violence victims who can document their situation. Business leaders said the bill could prove to be a hardship, particularly on small businesses.

The law contained a one-year sunset provision to measure its impact. A year later, no evidence at all of hardships on businesses due the law has shown up, Greenlee said. So on Thursday he will introduce legislation to make the law permanent. Council members Darrell L. Clarke, Bill Green and Jim Kenney are co-sponsors.

The law is meant to allow victims of domestic abuse to attend to "court proceedings, consultations with the police or a lawyer and/or medical emergency shelter assistance," Greenlee's office said in a press release today. 

"Too often the victims of domestic abuse are fired from their jobs because they need to seek to address the issues stemming from their abuse," Greenlee said. "We as a city cannot allow this to stand.”

Businesses with less than 50 employees have to allow up to four weeks unpaid leave. Those with more than 50 must allow eight weeks. Documented evidence of the abuse includes police and/or hospital records. Similar laws are in place Washington, D.C., Miami, and San Francisco.

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