Monday, January 12, 2009

City of Philadelphia Ordinance extends FMLA type leave to victims of domestic violence.

The City of Philadelphia passed an ordinance which took effect January 5th providing for up to 12 weeks of leave for victims of domestic or sexual violence and members of their immediate families.

This new law provides that employers of fifty or more employees must provide FMLA-type leave for any victim of sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence or face fines, penalties and a private right of action.
Even employers of 50 or fewer are covered, but are only required to provide up to 4 weeks of leave. The ordinance also provides for intermittent and reduced schedule leave, as well as a certification process not dissimilar from the FMLA's.

The ordinance is set to sunset on January 5, 2010 because it was feared that it would 'open the floodgates.' There are plans, however, among advocates groups and others to incorporate the provisions into amendments to the city's Human Relations Ordinance, which already goes beyond Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act in extending protection from employment discrimination based on gender affinity or gender identification.

Similar legislation may be introduced in the Pennsylvania state legislature, but these types of leave policies are probably the wave of the future.


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