Domestic Violence Leave: Taking Time off Work in Florida



Domestic violence affects every aspect of a person’s life, including their jobs and careers. According to Legal Momentum (a women’s rights advocacy group), victims of domestic violence miss an average of 137 hours of work a year because of the abuse occurring in their lives. Victims may miss work for numerous reasons, including seeking medical or legal help. Others are prevented from getting to work when their abuser disables them or their form of transportation. Some may not be able to show up for work because their abuser sabotaged childcare arrangements or because they are left without the money to fill their gas tank, call for a ride, or take public transportation.

An abusive partner seeks to exert control over their victims, meaning they control every aspect of their victim’s life. Most of the time, a victim really needs and wants to get to work, but when an abuser controls their lives, it’s hard for them to show up. Victims shouldn’t be punished for something out of their control, so certain states, like Florida, now allow victims to take domestic violence leave.

What Is Domestic Violence Leave and How Does It Work?

Domestic violence leave laws seek to address victims’ unique circumstances that lead them to miss work due to their abusive home life. However, it’s not as simple as calling into work and saying you want to claim domestic violence leave hours. Under Florida Law, many regulations and restrictions apply to domestic violence laws.

Who Can Take Domestic Violence Leave?

An employer must permit an employee to request and take up to three working days of leave within a 12-month period if the employee, their family, or household member is the victim of domestic violence. However, this only applies if their employer has over fifty employees and has worked under their employer for at least three months. Under this section of the law, the employee must provide their employer with “appropriate advanced notice of leave as required by the employer’s policy along with sufficient documentation of the act of domestic violence as required by their employer.”

There is, however, an exception to these requirements, and that’s in cases of imminent danger to the health or safety of the employee, their family, or a household member.

What Does Domestic Violence Leave Cover?

Domestic violence leave applies if the employer needs:

  • To seek an injunction for protection
  • Obtain medical or mental health to address physical or psychological injuries
  • Seek out victim services organizations (i.e., domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers)
  • Make their home secure from the perpetrator
  • Seek new housing to escape from their perpetrator
  • Find legal assistance to take legal action against the perpetrator
  • Prepare for court proceedings that arise for the legal action taken against the preparator

An employee must exhaust all their annual or vacation, personal, and sick leave (if applicable) before domestic violence leave is available unless the employer waives this requirement. An employer also determines if domestic violence leave will be paid or unpaid. Additionally, the law states that the employer is required to keep all information relating to the employee’s domestic violence leave confidential.

Find an Experienced Florida Domestic Violence Attorney at Fighter Law

At Fighter Law, our primary focus is on criminal defense, injunctions, and personal injury. We have years of experience dedicated to helping Florida residents find trusted legal counsel and helping them pursue the justice they deserve. Our board-certified attorneys have the expertise needed for handling domestic violence cases. We understand that this is an extremely sensitive topic and will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Schedule a consultation through our contact form or call (407) 344-4837.

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