The Illinois Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), grants victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking accommodations and rights in the workplace.
More specifics are available here.
Additionally, effective January 1, 2024, employees will also be entitled to leave in the event a family or household member is killed in a crime of violence.
VESSA is applicable to all employers in Illinois.
- VESSA allows employees to take unpaid leave, if they are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, to obtain legal services, attend counseling, receive medical help, and to receive help from a victim services organization. VESSA leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule.
- If a member of the employee’s family or household is a fatal victim, the employees can take unpaid leave to attend their funeral, to make necessary preparations following their passing, and to grieve a family member who was killed by an act of violence.
Documentation for leave
To request leave, the employee must provide a minimum of 48 hours’ notice, if practicable. Some employers may require documentation that VESSA leave is being used for a purpose listed above or that employee or an employee’s family is a victim of domestic or sexual abuse. An employee should provide the employer with a sworn statement and other documentation:
- Documentation from any victim services organization, attorney, medical professional, or any person that the employee or the employee’s family has asked for assistance.
- A police or court record
- Or any other evidence or documentation
All information provided is confidential. The employer may not share any information pertaining to an employee’s VESSA leave, notice of the VESSA leave, or any certification given by the employee.
Entitled period of leave in the event the employee is a victim:
The duration of leave is contingent upon the scale of the employer’s operations.
- A worker employed by an organization ranging from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 14 employees is eligible for 4 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period.
- A worker employed by an organization ranging from a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 40 employees is eligible for 8 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period.
- A worker employed by an organization with a minimum of 50 employees is eligible for 12 workweeks of leave during any 12-month period.
Entitled period of leave in the event the employee’s family or household member is a victim:
An employee requesting leave to attend a family or household member’s funeral, to make necessary preparations following their passing, or to grieve a family member who was killed by an act of violence is entitled to two workweeks (10 workdays) of unpaid leave — the request needing to be submitted within 60 days of the victim’s passing.
- Employers are prohibited from denying an employee’s act to exercise their rights under VESSA. They may not discharge, harass, retaliate, or discriminate against any employee who exercises their rights under VESSA.
- Employees who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor within three years after the allegation.
For additional information about the information contained in this post or assistance with any questions about your business, the attorneys at B&D are ready to help you. Contact us.