Employees of companies who have 50 or more workers, and who have been employed for 3 or more months are entitled to take up to 3 working days of leave from work in any 12-month period if the employee or a family or household member of an employee is the victim of domestic violence or sexual violence. The leave may be with or without pay, at the discretion of the employer. Before being able to request or receive such leave, however, the employee must exhaust all annual or vacation leave, personal leave, and sick leave available to the employee. The employee may only use such leave for the following reasons: a) to seek an injunction for protection against domestic violence; b) to obtain medical care or mental health counseling, or both, to addess physical or psychological injuries resulting from the act of domestic or sexual violence; c) to obtain services from a victim services organization as a result of the act of domestic or sexual violence; d) to make the employee’s home secure from the perpetrator of the domestic or sexual violence, or to seek new housing to escape the perpetrator; or e) to seek legal assistance in addressing issues arising from the act of domestic or sexual violence, or to attend and prepare for court-related proceedings arising from the act of domestic or sexual violence. An employee seeking such leave must provide advance notice of the need for leave along with sufficient documentation except in cases of imminent danger to health or safety. An employer who interferes with, restrains or denies the exercise of such leave is subject to liability for the employee’s lost wages and benefits.
Florida’s domestic/sexual violence leave law was established in 2007 and is a progressive recognition of domestic and sexual violence in our current society. Employees who are subjected to such forms of violence have a measure of comfort in the State of Florida that they need not make a choice between their own safety and protection and continued employment.