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Leave Time Allowed in Missouri for Victims of Domestic/Sexual Violence

By September 9, 2021News, Regional

Employees in Missouri who are victims of domestic or sexual violence or have a family or household member who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence, may take unpaid leave from work 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, temporary 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.

Individuals who work for a business with 50 or more employees are entitled to up two work weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period to address the related matters listed above.  Leave may be taken intermittently, or they may work a reduced schedule.  The employee shall provide to the employer 48-hours’ notice unless such notice is not practical.  Businesses employing 20-49 employees are entitled to up to one work week of unpaid leave with any 12-month period.

What do I need to do as an employer?

Employers must deliver the notice of the availability of this unpaid leave for domestic or sexual violence to each person employed by the employer in Missouri no later than October 27, 2021. For each person hired after October 27, 2021, the notice must be delivered upon the start of employment.  The State of Missouri has a poster that can be sent to each employee or posted in areas visible to employees such as breakrooms.  https://labor.mo.gov/sites/labor/files/pubs_forms/LS_112.pdf.  Thomas & Company does not have access to the information needed to deliver this notification to impacted Missouri employees.

If an employee elects to take the unpaid leave for domestic or sexual violence, will they be eligible for unemployment benefits for those weeks?

We will be monitoring this situation with the state of Missouri.  In many states with similar provisions, the victims are eligible for benefits.  If you have an employee who request an unpaid leave for domestic or sexual violence, you should document the following for the potential claim:

  • How much notification was provided by the employee prior to taking the leave?
    • The employee should provide the employer with at least 48 hours advance notice of their intention to take this unpaid leave, unless providing such notice is not practical.
  • When an unscheduled absence occurs, can I take any action against the employee?
    • You should not take any actions against the employee as long as the employee, upon request of the employer and within a reasonable period after the absence, provides certification that they are a victim of domestic or sexual violence.
  • What kind of documentation does the employee need to provide to prove they were a victim of domestic or sexual violence?
    • The employee can satisfy the certification requirement by providing a sworn statement of the employee and one of the following:
      • Documentation from an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, or a medical or other professional from whom the employee, their family or household member has sought assistance in addressing domestic or sexual violence and the effects of such violence.
      • A police or court record.
      • Or other corroborating evidence.

For more specifics on this Subsection of the Missouri Code, see https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=285.630&bid=49910&hl=.  For a definition of the terms outlined in the code, please refer to https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=285.625&bid=49909&hl=.

As always, we will continue to monitor any unemployment cases in Missouri related to this unpaid leave and provide additional guidance and updates as they become available.  If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website for the latest news and updates.

Michele Heckmann

Author Michele Heckmann

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