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Domestic Violence Leave Laws by State
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Workforce Management

Domestic Violence Leave Laws by State

One Minute Takeaway

  • Domestic violence impacts more than 10 million adults annually
  • Some states require employers to allow employees who are domestic violence victims time off
  • Employers can help domestic violence victims and their families by providing time off for court, counseling or to seek medical attention

More than 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually; that accounts for 1 in 3 women and 1 in 9 men. And unfortunately, domestic violence cases rose significantly since the pandemic; about 25-33% in 2020 alone. Although domestic violence issues are often unreported and difficult to discuss, there are several ways empowered employers can help employees in need. One of which is through a domestic violence leave of absence, which we will discuss in this article.

What is considered domestic violence?

Domestic violence is defined as any type of violent or aggressive behavior inflicted on another person within a home or within a relationship. Domestic violence can take the form of physical abuse, stalking, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, psychological abuse, threats or cyberstalking; and is also referred to as domestic abuse or intimate partner violence.

How does domestic violence leave work?

So, what is domestic violence leave? In many states, employers are required to grant time off to employees who have suffered violence from a domestic violence incident. Requirements vary by state, but in many cases, leave is granted for the following:

  • Seek medical attention or psychological counseling
  • Obtain a restraining order or to meet with legal officials
  • Meet with victim advocates
  • Attend court proceedings
  • To create a safety plan or relocate
  • Consult with an attorney

It is often the responsibility of the employee to notify the employer, if possible, through a written statement, a copy of a court order, police report or through other formal means. The laws in each state are minimum requirements, but employers have the right to create policies that will best serve their employee populations.

What does FMLA Say About Domestic Violence?

FMLA allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the care for a spouse, child, or parent of employee with a serious health condition, or for the employee’s own serious health condition. Because many victims of domestic violence suffer from injuries, impairments or serious mental conditions, issues related to domestic violence can comprise a serious health condition. However, FMLA is only for employers with more than 50 employees, which is why many states have enacted their own version of FMLA or specific protections for victims of crime, sexual assault or domestic violence.

Which states have domestic violence leave of absence requirements for employers?

To date, 25 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws or acts giving victims of domestic violence the right to take time off work: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington. It’s important to note that some states such as New Jersey, also require the law to be posted in a place where employees can view it, so that they know their rights.

StateLaws to support DV victims on record?Requirements
Alabama NoN/A
Alaska NoN/A
Arizona YesThe Arizona Crime Victim Leave Law requires Arizona employers with 50+ to allow employees to take unpaid time off to attend court proceedings or obtain a protective order. Arizona law gives all employees paid sick leave. Employers with 15+ employees provide 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked. This time can be used if a worker of a member of that person’s family is a victim of a crime of domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking or abuse.  
Arkansas NoN/A
California YesCalifornia employers must provide leave to employees who have been victims of domestic violence; or to care for family members who have been victims of domestic violence. Employers with 1-24 employees must provide time off for employees to obtain a restraining order. Employers with 25+ must provide time off to ensure the health and safety or obtain medical/psychological services or to relocate.
Colorado YesColorado employers must allow employees up to 3 days of leave in a 12-month period if an employee is a victim of domestic abuse, stalking, sexual assault or any other crime related to domestic violence.
Connecticut YesConnecticut employers with 3+ employees are required to provide up to 12 days off in a 12-month period if an employee or a family or household member of an employee is the victim of domestic violence or sexual violence. This leave may be with or without pay, at the discretion of the employer.
Delaware No*Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations related to domestic violence victims. This includes schedule changes and permitting the use of accrued leave.
District of ColumbiaYesThe Accrued and Sick Safe Leave Act requires that DC employers with 100+ employees must allow employees to accrue up to 7 days per calendar year of Sick & Safe Leave. Employers with 25-99 employees must allow employees to accrue up to 5 days per calendar year. Employers with 1-24 employees must allow employees to accrue up to 3 days per calendar year of Sick & Safe Leave which can be used for cases of domestic violence.
Florida YesFlorida employers with 50+ employees must allow employees to request and take up to 3 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. This leave may be with or without pay, at the discretion of the employer.
Georgia NoN/A
Hawaii YesHawaii employers with 1-49 employees must allow employees who have been victims of domestic violence up to 5 days of leave per calendar year. Employers with 50+ employees must allow domestic violence victims up to 30 days per calendar year.
Idaho NoN/A
Illinois YesEmployers must provide leave to employees who have been victims of domestic violence; or to care for family members who have been victims of domestic violence. Employers with 50+ employees must provide up to 12 weeks of leave within any 12-month period. Employers with 15-49 employees must provide up to 8 weeks of leave within any 12-month period.
Indiana NoN/A
Iowa NoN/A
Kansas YesAll Kansas employers are required to allow employees to take up to eight days of leave per calendar year to address issues related to domestic violence or sexual assault.
Kentucky NoN/A
Louisiana NoN/A
Maine YesEmployers must grant employees reasonable and necessary leave from work, with or without pay, to prepare for and attend court proceedings; receive medical treatment or attend to medical treatment for a victim who is the employee’s daughter, son, parent or spouse or obtain necessary services to remedy a crisis caused by domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
Maryland YesMaryland Healthy Working Families Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick and safe leave for certain employees, including victims of domestic violence. An employee accrues earned sick and safe leave at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours the employee works; however, an employee is not entitled to earn more than 40 hours of earned sick and safe leave in a year.
Massachusetts YesMassachusetts law provides up to 15 days of leave in any 12-month period, for employers with 50 or more employees. Notice of law is required by employer and leave can be unpaid or paid.
Michigan YesPaid Medical Leave Act (PMLA) allows employees to use 40 hours of leave time in a benefit year if the eligible employee or the eligible employee’s family member is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Minnesota YesMinnesota employers, of any size, must allow employees to take reasonable time off work to obtain a protection order for the employee or the employee’s minor child.
Mississippi NoN/A
Missouri YesEmployers must provide leave to an employee in the case of domestic or sexual violence. Employers with 50+ employees must provide up to two workweeks of unpaid leave within any 12-month period to address the related matters above. Employers with 20 to 49 employees must provide up to one workweek of unpaid leave within any 12-month period.
MontanaNoN/A
Nebraska NoN/A
Nevada YesEmployers must provide leave to an employee (90+ days employed) who is a victim of an act domestic violence 160 hours of leave (paid or unpaid) during a 12-month period following the date on which the domestic violence occurred.
New Hampshire YesNew Hampshire Crime Victim Employment Leave Act requires employers with 25 or more employees to provide an unpaid leave of absence to employees who are crime victims or are immediate family members of certain crime victims, for the purpose of attending legal or investigative proceedings associated with the prosecution of the crime.
New Jersey YesNJ SAFE Act requires employers employing 25+ employees to provide up to 20 days of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to eligible employees who have been the victim of domestic violence or a sexually violent offense or whose child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner was a victim of such an act.
New Mexico YesAll NM employers must provide up to 14 days of leave to domestic violence victims in any calendar year, which employees may use in increments of up to 8 hours in one day.
New York YesEmployers must grant leave as a reasonable accommodation to employee victims of domestic violence.
North Carolina YesNorth Carolina employers, of any size, must allow employees to take reasonable time off work to obtain a protection order for the employee or the employee’s minor child.
North Dakota NoN/A
Ohio NoN/A
Oklahoma NoN/A
Oregon YesEmployers with 6+ employees must allow employees who are victims of domestic violence to take reasonable time off from work to obtain court or law enforcement protection or to take other safety measures.
Pennsylvania No*A Philadelphia City Ordinance requires employers to provide up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave per year to victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, or to their qualifying family members, to receive applicable victim support services.  
Rhode Island YesEmployers with 50+ employees shall allow employees who are victims of a crime to leave work for court proceedings. Those employees should not lose their job nor seniority.
South Carolina NoN/A
South Dakota NoN/A
Tennessee NoN/A
Texas NoN/A
Utah YesAn employee who is a victim of an act of violence is permitted to use up to three days of leave from work in a 12-month period, with or without pay for legal assistance, medical care, or obtain counseling.
Vermont YesFair Employment Practices Act acknowledges crime victims as a protected class. Employees must be employed for 6+ months at 20 hours per week.
Virginia NoN/A
Washington YesDomestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking victims can take leave from work and request safety accommodations from employer.
West Virginia NoN/A
Wisconsin NoN/A
Wyoming NoN/A

How Paycor Helps

Ensure the channels of communication with your employees are always open, especially about circumstances as serious as domestic violence. With Paycor Mobile, you can keep employees informed of policy updates, provide access to schedules, allow then to request time off all while protecting their most sensitive information.

Paycor creates Human Capital Management (HCM) software for leaders who want to make a difference. Our HCM platform modernizes every aspect of people management, from recruiting, onboarding and paying associates, to developing and retaining them. But what really sets us apart is our focus on business leaders. For over 30 years, we’ve been listening to and partnering with leaders, so we know what they need: HR technology that saves time, powerful analytics that provide actionable insights and personalized support. That’s why more than 29,000 customers trust Paycor to help them solve problems and achieve their goals.