Bill Text: NY S04850 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Relates to the entitlement to unpaid leave of absence for victims of domestic violence; permits victims of domestic violence to take an unpaid leave of absence for twenty days from employment to address on-going domestic violence; defines "address on-going domestic violence"; contains provision to protect the individual's job position and benefits.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 7-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-27 - REFERRED TO LABOR [S04850 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S04850-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          4850
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                     March 27, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced  by Sens. PARKER, BAILEY, BRESLIN, HOYLMAN, KENNEDY, MONTGOM-
          ERY, SANDERS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be
          committed to the Committee on Labor
        AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to the entitlement to  unpaid
          leave of absence from employment for victims of domestic violence
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The labor law is amended by adding a new  article  19-D  to
     2  read as follows:
     3                                ARTICLE 19-D
     4                         UNPAID LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR
     5                   VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE
     6  Section 696. Definitions.
     7          696-a. Entitlement to leave.
     8          696-b. Leave taken intermittently or on reduced leave schedule.
     9          696-c. Notice of intention to take leave.
    10          696-d. Certification.
    11          696-e. Confidentiality.
    12          696-f. Restoration to position.
    13          696-g. Prohibited acts.
    14          696-h. Civil action.
    15          696-i. Savings clause.
    16    § 696. Definitions. As used in this article:
    17    1.  "Victim of domestic or sexual abuse" shall mean a victim of domes-
    18  tic violence, a sex offense, or stalking.
    19    2.  "Victim of domestic violence" shall mean an individual  who  is  a
    20  victim  of  an  act  which would constitute a family offense pursuant to
    21  subdivision one of section eight hundred twelve of the family court act.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD10484-01-9

        S. 4850                             2
     1    3. "Victim of a sex offense" shall mean a victim of  an  act  or  acts
     2  that  would  constitute a violation of article one hundred thirty of the
     3  penal law.
     4    4.  "Victim  of  stalking"  shall mean a victim of an act or acts that
     5  would constitute a violation of section 120.45, 120.50, 120.55 or 120.60
     6  of the penal law.
     7    5. "Employee" shall mean a person who is employed for at least  twelve
     8  months  for not less than one thousand base hours during the immediately
     9  preceding twelve month period.
    10    6. "Employer" shall mean a person or corporation,  partnership,  indi-
    11  vidual  proprietorship, joint venture, firm or company, or other similar
    12  legal entity which engages the services of an employee and employs twen-
    13  ty-five or more employees for each working day during each of twenty  or
    14  more  calendar  work  weeks in the then current or immediately preceding
    15  calendar year. "Employer" includes the state, any political  subdivision
    16  thereof, and all public offices, agencies, boards or bodies.
    17    §  696-a.  Entitlement  to  leave.  Any employee of an employer in the
    18  state who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence shall  be  eligible
    19  for  twenty days of unpaid leave from their employment during any twelve
    20  month period in order to address domestic or sexual violence or  ongoing
    21  effects  of  such domestic or sexual violence, including but not limited
    22  to:
    23    1. seeking medical attention for, or recovering or taking care of  the
    24  victim's child while the child recovers from, any physical or psycholog-
    25  ical injuries caused by the domestic or sexual violence; or
    26    2.  attending counseling sessions for the victim of domestic or sexual
    27  violence or for such victim's child in order to deal with the effects of
    28  the domestic or sexual violence; or
    29    3. seeking legal assistance including attending court  proceedings  or
    30  meeting  or  communicating  with an attorney or a member of law enforce-
    31  ment; or
    32    4. seeking services for the victim of domestic or sexual  violence  or
    33  for  such  victim's  child from a residential or non-residential program
    34  for victims of domestic or sexual violence; or
    35    5. engaging in safety planning, including arranging  to  relocate  and
    36  relocating  to  a  temporary  or  permanent  new  residence, in order to
    37  decrease the risk of future domestic or sexual violence.
    38    § 696-b.  Leave taken intermittently or on reduced leave schedule. The
    39  leave pursuant to section six hundred ninety-six-a of this  article  may
    40  be  taken  on a reduced leave schedule or intermittently if the employee
    41  and employer agree on the schedule. Taking leave on a reduced  leave  or
    42  intermittent  schedule  shall not result in a reduction in the amount of
    43  total leave a victim of domestic or sexual violence is  entitled  to  in
    44  the twelve month period.
    45    § 696-c.  Notice of intention to take leave. An employee shall provide
    46  an  employer  with reasonable notice of the employee's intention to take
    47  leave pursuant to section  six  hundred  ninety-six-a  of  this  article
    48  unless  providing  such  notice  is not practicable. When an unscheduled
    49  absence occurs, the employer may not take any action against the employ-
    50  ee if the employee,  within  a  reasonable  period  of  time  after  the
    51  absence,  provides  certification  as  set  forth in section six hundred
    52  ninety-six-d of this article.
    53    § 696-d.  Certification. In order to determine whether the employee is
    54  a victim of domestic or sexual violence, the employer may  require  that
    55  the request for leave be supported by one of the following:

        S. 4850                             3
     1    1.  a  sworn  statement  submitted by the victim of domestic or sexual
     2  violence describing such victim's need for leave to address the  ongoing
     3  effects of domestic or sexual violence; or
     4    2.  any  documentation  of  the domestic or sexual violence, including
     5  police reports, court records, statements from  a  shelter  worker,  law
     6  enforcement  officer, medical worker, counselor, clergy member, attorney
     7  or any other professional from whom the employee has  sought  assistance
     8  to address the domestic or sexual violence and its effects; or
     9    3.  any  other  corroborating  evidence  including  physical evidence,
    10  photographs, or statements from other individuals who are aware  of  the
    11  domestic or sexual violence and its effects.
    12    §  696-e.  Confidentiality.  Any information provided to the employer,
    13  including but not limited to information under section six hundred nine-
    14  ty-six-d of this article, describing the domestic or sexual violence  in
    15  the  employee's  life  and  the  request  to take a leave to address the
    16  effects of domestic or sexual violence, shall be  kept  confidential  by
    17  the  employer.    Disclosure  shall  only be allowed if the employee, in
    18  writing, consents to or requests disclosure.
    19    § 696-f. Restoration to position. 1.  Any  employee  who  takes  leave
    20  under  section  six hundred ninety-six-a of this article, shall be enti-
    21  tled to return from such leave and be restored to the same position held
    22  by such employee when the leave began or be restored  to  an  equivalent
    23  position with equivalent benefits, pay and other terms and conditions of
    24  employment.
    25    2.  The taking of leave under section six hundred ninety-six-a of this
    26  article shall not result in the loss of any employment benefits  accrued
    27  prior to the date on which the leave began.
    28    3.  (a)  Except  as  provided  in subdivision two of this section, any
    29  employee who takes leave under section six hundred ninety-six-a of  this
    30  article  shall  be  entitled to continued coverage under any health care
    31  benefits plan provided by such person's employer for the duration of the
    32  leave.
    33    (b) The employer may recover the premium that the  employer  paid  for
    34  maintaining coverage under a health benefits plan for the employee enti-
    35  tled  to  leave  under section six hundred ninety-six-a of this article,
    36  if:
    37    (i) the employee fails to return to such person's employment once  the
    38  leave has expired; and
    39    (ii) the employee fails to return to work for a reason other than:
    40    (A)  the  continuation,  recurrence,  or  onset  of domestic or sexual
    41  violence that entitles the employee to leave pursuant to  this  section;
    42  or
    43    (B) other circumstances beyond the control of the employee.
    44    § 696-g. Prohibited acts. 1. Interference with rights.
    45    (a)  Exercise  of  rights.  It  shall  be unlawful for any employer to
    46  interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise  of  or  the  attempt  to
    47  exercise any right provided under this article.
    48    (b)  Employer discrimination. It shall be unlawful for any employer to
    49  discharge or harass any individual, or  otherwise  discriminate  against
    50  any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or priv-
    51  ileges  of  employment  of  the individual (including retaliation in any
    52  form or manner) because the  individual  exercised  any  right  provided
    53  under  this  article or opposed any practice made unlawful by this arti-
    54  cle.
    55    2. Interference with proceedings or inquiries. It  shall  be  unlawful
    56  for  any  person  to  discharge  or in any other manner discriminate (as

        S. 4850                             4
     1  described in paragraph (b) of subdivision one of this  section)  against
     2  any individual because such individual:
     3    (a) has filed any charge, or has instituted or caused to be instituted
     4  any proceeding, under or related to this article;
     5    (b) has given, or is about to give, any information in connection with
     6  any  inquiry  or  proceeding  relating  to any right provided under this
     7  article; or
     8    (c) has testified, or is about to testify, in any inquiry or  proceed-
     9  ing relating to any right provided under this article.
    10    §  696-h.  Civil  action.  1.  By employee. Any person denied leave or
    11  benefits due under this article or aggrieved by an action made  unlawful
    12  by this article shall have a cause of action in any court of appropriate
    13  jurisdiction  for damages, including any wages, salary, employment bene-
    14  fits or other compensation denied or lost to such individual by  reasons
    15  of  the  violation  and/or  any  actual monetary losses sustained by the
    16  individual as a direct result of the violation, as well as  interest  on
    17  such amount calculated at the prevailing rate, and such equitable relief
    18  as   may   be  appropriate,  including  employment,  reinstatement,  and
    19  promotion, together with costs and such reasonable  attorneys'  fees  as
    20  may  be allowed by the court, and if the violation was willful, an addi-
    21  tional amount as liquidated damages equal to twenty-five percent of  the
    22  total of such damages found to be due.
    23    2. By commissioner. On behalf of any employee denied leave or benefits
    24  due  under  this article or aggrieved by an action made unlawful by this
    25  article, the industrial commissioner may bring a legal action  necessary
    26  to  collect  damages  due  to  the  violation, and the employer shall be
    27  required to pay such damages and if such violation was willful, an addi-
    28  tional amount as liquidated damages equal to twenty-five percent of  the
    29  total of such damages found to be due.
    30    3.  Limitation of time. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an
    31  action to recover  upon  liability  imposed  by  this  article  must  be
    32  commenced within two years.
    33    §  696-i.  Savings  clause.  If  any  provision of this article or the
    34  application thereof to any person, employer, occupation or  circumstance
    35  is  held  invalid,  the  remainder of the article and the application of
    36  such provision to other  persons,  employees,  occupations,  or  circum-
    37  stances shall not be affected thereby.
    38    §  2.  This  act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
    39  have become a law.
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