If you are facing domestic violence, you may be able to take time off work to handle medical, legal, and other matters. In Connecticut, most employers have to allow employees to take unpaid domestic violence leave. And larger employers—those with at least 50 employees—must provide paid sick leave for service employees, which can be used for needs relating to domestic violence.
Connecticut employers must provide paid sick leave if they have at least 50 employees on the payroll as of the week that includes October 1. Only service workers are eligible to accrue and use paid sick leave. A service worker includes anyone who fits into one of the occupations listed in the law, including not only wait staff, bartenders, and dishwashers, but also janitors, cosmetologists, hairdressers, secretaries, mail clerks, medical and dental assistants, and more.
Eligible employees accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, up to a total of 40 hours off per year. In addition to using sick leave when you or a family member are sick or need medical care, you may use sick leave for certain reasons arising from sexual assault or domestic violence. For example, you may use paid sick leave to attend legal proceedings, relocate, seek medical care, or get counseling. Note, however, that this leave is available only if you are the victim; although other states allow employees to take time off for themselves or a family member, Connecticut law protects only employees who are themselves victims.
Learn more about Connecticut's paid sick leave law, including notice and documentation requirements.
A separate Connecticut law requires all employers with at least three employees to provide up to 12 days of unpaid leave for domestic violence per year. If you are covered by both the paid and unpaid leave laws, you are entitled to these 12 unpaid days off in addition to any time off you take under the paid sick leave law.
Employees who are victims of family violence may take time off under the law. Family violence is physical harm, injury, or assault, or threats of violence that create fear of imminent harm, between family or household members. It includes stalking and patterns of threatening behavior. Like the paid sick leave law, however, you may use this time off only if you are yourself the victim: You may not take time off to assist a family member victim.
Time off is available to:
If you need leave for a reason that’s foreseeable, such as a counseling appointment or court date, your employer can require you to provide notice up to seven days in advance. If you need leave for an unforeseen reason, such as urgent medical care or an emergency court date to get a restraining order, your employer can require you to give as much notice as is practicable under the circumstances.
Your employer can require you to submit a signed, written statement that you need time off for a reason covered by the law. Your employer can also request that you provide a police record, court record, or signed, written statement from an attorney, the state Office of Victim’s Services or Office of the Victim Advocate, a victim’s services organization, or a licensed professional (medical or otherwise) from whom you have sought assistance, that you are a victim of family violence. Your statement and any additional documents you provide must be kept confidential. Your employer may disclose them only if required by state or federal law, or to protect your workplace safety, and you must be given prior notice, in writing, of the disclosure.
Be careful when researching your options. If you share a phone plan or a computer with your abuser, your calls and search history may not be private. As you take steps to protect yourself and your children, consider using a work phone or computer (if allowed) or a friend’s communications equipment for confidential research and calls.