Client Alert
November 18, 2009
Philadelphia Requires That All Employers Provide Leave for Domestic Violence Issues

On October 29, 2009, the City of Philadelphia made permanent an ordinance requiring employers to provide up to eight weeks of unpaid leave each year to victims of domestic or sexual violence and their families. This ordinance, known as the "Entitlement to Leave Due to Domestic or Sexual Violence," initially was enacted for a one-year period ending January 5, 2010, but has now been made permanent by a unanimous vote of the City’s commissioners.

All employers in the City of Philadelphia must comply with the ordinance, and must post the City’s summary notice of the ordinance in the workplace. We have attached a copy of the new employee notice for your convenience; the City's website contains an outdated notice about the earlier temporary law.

Under the ordinance, employers must provide up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave to employees that are victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, or have family or household members that are victims of such acts. Significantly, all employers in Philadelphia are covered by this ordinance, including those employers not subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Employers with at least 50 employees must provide 8 weeks of unpaid leave annually, while employers with fewer than 50 employees must provide 4 weeks of unpaid leave annually.

Employers in Philadelphia should consult with employment counsel to develop policies and internal procedures needed to implement this law, including benefit continuation and job restoration policies. This is especially important for employers with fewer than 50 employees (who are not subject to the FMLA), because the Philadelphia ordinance incorporates many of the FMLA’s same requirements. Please contact Marc Furman, Esquire, Chair of Cohen Seglias’ Labor & Employment Group, at (215) 564-1700 or mfurman@cohenseglias.com for additional information and assistance.

     
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