Prop 206: Paid Safe Days for Domestic Violence Passes in Arizona

Q: If I miss work due to domestic violence, will I be fired or have my pay docked?

Domestic violence is a sad reality in many relationships today. Violence by one partner against another can be physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual in nature. Domestic violence abuse can also come at the hands of a close relative.

If you or a loved one has been abused by a spouse or a close relative, the police and a skilled domestic violence attorney can help you through the steps needed to ensure the physical safety of yourself and, if you have them, your children.

Very often, in cases of spousal abuse, the victim may want to pursue a divorce or legal separation proceeding.

Historically, a lack of legislative support in the employment arena has left domestic violence victims in a vulnerable position. Very often, victims must take unexpected or repeated absences or leave from work as a direct result of a domestic violence incident. The absences may be related to medical situations or court proceedings. Unsympathetic employers could dock the victim’s pay and/or terminate them entirely as a consequence. In a sense, the victim would be victimized twice from the domestic violence in their life.

Should victims have to choose between their paycheck or job and important court proceedings or emergency medical treatment?

Arizona just passed Proposition 206 on Election Day, voting to support paid “Safe Days” for domestic violence victims as well as voting in favor of accrued paid sick days and an increase in minimum wage. In a nutshell, part of Prop 206 provides protections in the workplace for the victims of domestic violence so they can take days off from work with pay and without fear of retaliation or the loss of their job when they use that benefit.

The need for such legislation can be found in the real case of a woman whose ex-husband and abuser fled the state with their three children, causing the woman to take off 3 unpaid days from work related to her missing children. She was let go over the incident. A couple weeks later– and at a new job– the woman asked her new manager for a few days off for a mandatory court proceeding regarding that incident. Remembering the Amber alert from a few weeks earlier, the manager told the boss who then let the victim go.

With the passage of Proposition 206, the domestic violence victims’ jobs and paychecks will be safeguarded once they meet any qualifying criteria to accrue said paid benefits. According to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence an estimated 804,000 women and 454,000 men in Arizona will be victims of domestic violence at some point during their lifetime.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or are considering a divorce, you need an experienced and compassionate law firm in your corner to protect your right and your safety. Cohen Family Law in Phoenix has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of family law matters. Call 602-714-8898 for a free consultation.