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Violence, Assault Victims Entitled to Unpaid Leave [AUDIO]

Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault can get the help they need without affecting their employment, under a New Jersey law that kicked in this month.

Domestic Violence
Sami Sarkis, Getty Images

The New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act, or NJ SAFE Act, allows up to 20 days of unpaid leave for victims. It applies to employers with 25 or more workers. Family members of the victims are eligible for the leave as well.

Employers have the option to ask for documentation, such as an applicable restraining order or a medical form, before granting the days off.

Rosemary Gousman, Managing Partner in the New Jersey office of labor firm Fisher & Phillips, said she hasn’t heard any pushback from employers yet, regarding the Act. However, it’s possible not all employers are aware of the new rules.

“There are serious consequences if employers don’t comply with the Act,” noted Gousman.

Fines can range from $1,000 to $2,000 for a first offense and up to $5,000 for subsequent offenses.

Gousman said the law encourages victims to get professional help after a violent experience.

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