Domestic Violence and the Work Place - Victim’s Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA)
What is VESSA?
The Illinois Victim’s Economic Security and Safety Act, or VESSA, provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to an employee who is a victim of or who has a family member who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence to address issues arising from domestic or sexual violence.
To Whom Does VESSA Apply?
- All private sector employers with 50 or more employees
- All state and local government entities
- All school districts
Who is Covered by VESSA?
Signed into law on August 25, 2004, VESSA covers employees who are:
- Victims of Domestic or Sexual Violence
- Have a family or household member who is a victim of domestic
What are Employees Entitled to Under VESSA?
- Employees may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid VESSA leave during each consecutive twelve month period
- Employees may request reasonable accommodations at the workplace
VESSA Leave Shall Be Granted for the Following Reasons:
- Enable employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence to maintain the financial independence necessary to leave abusive situations
- Protect the civil and economic rights of employees who are victims of domestic or sexual violence and employees with a family or household member who is a victim
How can VESSA be Utilized?
An employee may take VESSA leave to:
- Seek medical attention for, or recovery from, physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence to the employee or employee’s family or household member
- Obtain victim services for the employee or employee’s family or household member
- Obtain psychological or other counseling for the employee or the employee’s family or household member
- Participate in safety planning, including temporary or permanent relocation or other actions to increase the safety of the victim from future domestic or sexual violence
- Seek legal assistance to ensure the health and safety of the victim including participation in court proceedings related to the violence
VESSA leave may be taken in the following increments:
- In it’s entirety
- On a reduced work schedule
Is VESSA Confidential?
Employers must maintain the confidentiality of:
- Requests for VESSA leave
- Leave taken
All records must be maintained for a period of at least three years.
Where can I Learn More About VESSA?
For further information contact:
- The Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence @ 312.747.5068
- The Illinois Department of Labor @ 312.793.6797.