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Missouri Enacts Domestic Violence Leave for Employees

A new law requires Missouri employers with 20 or more employees to provide unpaid leave when workers or their family members are domestic violence victims. The law takes effect August 28, 2021.

Amount of Leave. Employers with 20-49 employees must allow up to one week of unpaid leave per 12-month period. Employers with 50 or more employees must provide up to two weeks of leave every 12 months. Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule.

Reasons for Leave. Generally, leave may be taken for the following reasons when the employee or their family member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence:

  • To seek medical attention for physical or psychological injuries;
  • To obtain services from a victim services organization;
  • To obtain psychological or other counseling;
  • To participate in safety planning, relocate or take other actions to increase safety or economic security; or
  • To seek legal assistance or remedies, including preparing for or participating in civil or criminal proceedings.

Employer Notice Requirements. Employers will be required to provide employees with a notice, summarizing the requirements of the law. The notice may be in electronic form and must be provided to existing employees no later than October 27, 2021, and for employees hired after October 27, 2021, the notice must be provided upon hire. The state will provide copies of summaries and rules to employers upon request without charge.

Employee Certification Requirements. When practicable, employees must provide 48 hours’ advance notice of the need for leave. Employers may require certification in the form of documentation from specified professionals about assistance sought, a police or court record, or other corroborating evidence; however, information obtained by the employer must be retained “in the strictest confidence.”

Benefits During Leave. The leave is job protected, and health benefits must be continued during leave.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers should update their leave policies and procedures to comply with the law and ensure managers/supervisors are trained on these leave requirements.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.