Come November 18, 2019, employers in New York State must grant employees who are victims of domestic violence with reasonable time off as an accommodation in order to:
- seek medical attention for injuries caused by domestic violence, including for a child who is the victim of domestic violence;
- obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crisis center;
- obtain psychological counseling, including for a child who is the victim of domestic violence;
- participate in safety planning or to take other actions to increase safety from future incidents of domestic violence; and/or
- obtain legal services, assist in the prosecution of the offense, or appear in court related to the incident of domestic violence.
As is common with other reasonable accommodation obligations, employers will be required to provide the requested leave unless the employee’s absence would constitute an undue hardship on the employer’s business.
Employers may charge the leave against any paid time off which the employee has accrued. If the employee has no available paid time off, the time off may be treated as unpaid time.
This new obligation arises from an amendment to the New York State Human Rights Law. The amendment also addresses continuation of health insurance during leave, employee notice of the need for leave, certification of the need for leave, and confidentiality.