NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Westchester County is joining New York City with the signing of a Safe Leave law.
The gives paid time off of work to people dealing with the trauma of domestic violence in all its forms, reports CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
In these partisan times, the law signed by Westchester Executive George Latimer found unanimous support at the county.
“It sends a message to victims everywhere that they are not alone, that others do care, and that’s worth way, way, way more than 40 hours of pay,” said CarlLa Horton, executive directors of Hope’s Door.
The law requires businesses with five or more employees to offer 40 hours annual paid leave to employees in domestic violence situations to attend court, counselling or meeting with an attorney.
A woman who sought safety three years ago told me she had to leave her job when she left an abusive relationship. Paid leave would have made a huge difference.
“I had to step out of my life and into my new life in two hours, and left my entry job to have nothing, to have no financial support at all,” she told CBS2.
Westchester County legislator Catherine Borgia, the lead sponsor, says it goes beyond acts of physical violence.
“It includes emotional manipulation, financial manipulation, others kinds of abuse,” she said.
The measure also passed with support from the business community.
“It’s not all about the bottom line, it is about really caring for employees and doing the right thing,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, CEO of Business Council of Westchester.
In a typical year, the 40 police departments in Westchester County handle more than 15,000 domestic violence related calls.
Sponsors believe hundreds of people will be helped by being able to take paid time off while they deal with the emotional, legal and financial fallout.
The law allows employers to ask for reasonable proof before granting paid leave, such as a note from a judge, lawyer, or agency that serves domestic violence victims.
Domestic Abuse Resources: Where To Get Help
National Domestic Violence Hotline
P.O. Box 161810
Austin TX, 78716
Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Advocates who are deaf are available Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST) by videophone (855-812-1001), instant messenger (DeafHotline) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
119 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor
Albany, NY 12210
Hotline NYS: 1 (800) 942-6906
Hotline NYC: 1 (800) 621-4673
Office: (518) 482-5465 Fax: (518) 482-3807
New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women
1670 Whitehorse Hamilton Square
Trenton, NJ 08690
Hotline: 1 (800) 572-7233 TTY: (800) 787-3224
Office: (609) 584-8107 Fax: (609) 584-9750
Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence
912 Silas Deane Highway, Lower Level
Wethersfield, CT 06109
Hotline: (888) 774-2900
Office: (860) 282-7899 Fax: (860) 282-7892