The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) signed into law 30 years ago this week was the first time our country’s laws recognized that working people are also family caregivers and human beings who face illness themselves. But the FMLA was not enough, then or now.
Currently, leave is not available to people facing domestic and sexual violence if they need time off to go to court or seek other protections or support, which can cost them their jobs. Every state must consider adopting what is known as safe leave — leave for a worker subjected to sexual or domestic violence to seek a restraining order, relocate to safety, or take other protective measures — or help a close family member do so. This leave must also be paid.