New Sick and Safe Time Ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017- Provides support and protection for victims of domestic violence and their family members.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month of recognition evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nations who were working to end violence against women and their children. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since and each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
This month is an important reminder for people across the country to focus on preventing and ending domestic violence in their communities. According to the National Resource on Domestic Violence:
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men over the age of 18 in the U.S. will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime.
- 1 in 3 teens has experienced some form of abuse in a dating relationship, and nearly half of college women report experiencing a violent or abusive dating relationship.
- Domestic violence and dating abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation or religion.
On May 31, 2016, Mayor Betsy Hodges signed the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance and Minneapolis became the first city in Minnesota to require that certain employers provide paid sick leave to covered employees. Under this Ordinance, starting July 1, 2017, employers must allow employees to accrue up to 48 hours of sick and safe time each year. Employers with six or more employees must provide paid sick and safe time, while smaller employers must at least provide unpaid leave. Employees may use sick and safe time for their own health and certain family members.
The Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance is a major step forward on providing support for victims of domestic violence. The Ordinance assists victims of domestic violence and their family members by providing them with job protected paid time away from work to allow them to receive treatment and services, and to take the necessary steps to ensure their protection. Research demonstrates victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking with no paid sick leave are less able to receive medical treatment, participate in legal proceedings and obtain other necessary services. In addition, without paid sick leave, domestic violence victims are less able to maintain the financial independence necessary to leave abusive situations, achieve safety, and minimize physical and emotional injuries. The Ordinance provisions take effect on July 1, 2017.
While the existence of domestic abuse is never desired, it is reassuring to know that new legislation provides support for victims as they recover. This month, and throughout the year, it’s important for all of us to get involved, raise awareness and speak out in support of victims and survivors. Chances are, even if you have not experienced abuse in your own relationships, someone you know has.