Some Missouri employers are now required to allow unpaid leave for employees who have experienced domestic or sexual violence. The new law, called the Victims Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA), went into effect on August 28, 2021, and applies to all companies with over 20 employees. The law also covers leave for an employee’s family or household member who experienced domestic or sexual violence. According to MO Division of Labor Standards, the employee may use the time to “address such violence by:
- Seeking medical attention for, or recovering from, physical or psychological injuries caused by such violence.
- Obtaining services from a victim services organization.
- Obtaining psychological or other counseling.
- Participating in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocating, or taking other actions to increase the safety of the employee or employee’s family or household.
- Seeking legal assistance or remedies to ensure health and safety.”
Though employees are not required to take their days consecutively, they do need to provide the employer with 48 hours’ notice that they will be taking time off (unless such notice is not practicable). The amount of time allotted depends on the number of employees in the company.
VESSA states the employer has the right to request certification that the employee or member of family or household is a victim. Once the employee returns the employer is required to restore the employee to their position (or an equivalent position) prior to leave. The employer must continue to maintain coverage for the employee and anyone on their group health plan throughout their leave. If the employee fails to return after their set leave expires, the employer can recover the employee’s healthcare premium from the employee.
Covered employers are required to notify their current employees of the law on or before October 27th. The Missouri Labor Department provided a poster with more information. If you are curious about how to successfully implement procedures surrounding VESSA, please reach out to us today!