County Exec Signs “Safe Leave” for Victims of Violence Making it Law victims must be given time off without reprisals for court, and other proceedings.

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications My 4, 2019:

With leaders in the business and labor communities, advocates who work on the front lines with domestic violence victims and lawmakers, Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed the ‘Safe Leave’ For Domestic Violence Victims bill into law.

Latimer said: “This is a major step forward for people who are victims of domestic violence to be able to get the support that they need in order to deal with that victimization and to know they won’t have to sacrifice their employment to do so. This again shows our willingness to be on the forefront of progressive action, to do it in a bi- or tri-partisan fashion, and to do it in concert with what we are hearing from the community.”

The measure, which unanimously passed the County Board of Legislators, with tri-partisan support (Democrat, Republican and Conservative) will give victims of domestic violence or human trafficking the ability to take “safe leave” from their jobs. This new law grants victims of domestic violence or human trafficking up to 40 hours of paid leave to attend or testify in court proceedings related to their situations, to move from an abuser’s residence or to speak with lawyers or other advisers. Employers may ask for reasonable documentation that ‘safe time’ has been used for these purposes.

Board of Legislators Chairman Ben Boykin said: “This law protects Westchester residents at the most vulnerable time of their lives. It assures people who have been victims of domestic violence won’t have to choose between safety and their jobs.”

Legislator Catherine Borgia, the bill’s main sponsor, said: “The most dangerous time for a victim is when they are leaving an abuser. That is when they need to act with speed and with a strategy that keeps them and their children safe. I believe this is a bill that will save people’s lives in Westchester County.”

Hope’s Door Executive Director CarLa Horton said: “Being a victim of domestic violence takes every ounce of strength and courage and support – more than you could ever imagine. One of the hardest things for victims is feeling that they are all alone, that no one knows or believes or cares. This sends a message to victims everywhere that they are not alone and that people do care – and that is worth much more than 40 hours of work.”

My Sister’s Place CEO Karen Cheeks-Lomax Esq., said: “I am proud to stand with County Executive Latimer, Legislator Borgia, Chairman Boykin and all the legislators that think this is such an important issue. This bill sheds light on safety – and at My Sister’s Place that is what we are looking at. I am excited on behalf of all the survivors we work with, and am proud that we are part of this new initiative that will change the lives of those seeking safety, protection and an economic future.”

Secretary/Treasurer Communication Workers of America Local 1103 Joe Mayhew said: “On behalf of CWA and the Community/Labor Coalition for Paid Sick Time, we thank the legislators for supporting this law and the County Executive for signing it today.”

Westchester Business Council CEO/President Dr. Marsha Gordon said: “The Business Council of Westchester is here because the Westchester business community is concerned, compassionate, and clear on standing with our employees during their time of need. This is an education, an awareness, and our members of all sizes in every sector are there and will help get this information out. Our businesses are always looking to support their employees – especially during a time of need.”

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