Senate Bill Offers Employer, Worker Abuse Protections

July 30, 2001 ( - The Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (S. 1249) was introduced in the Senate last week.

The bill is intended to protect victims of abuse by providing the financial independence necessary to leave an abusive situation and also to reduce the economic impact of violence to employers and workers.

Time Off

The bill would entitle victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to take up to 30 days per year of unpaid leave from work to:

  • seek legal or medical assistance
  • obtain victim services
  • participate in safety planning
  • relocate
  • or other actions

The bill would also provide unemployment compensation and establish a tax credit for employers for safety and education costs, according to Bureau of National Affairs Daily Labor Report.

Other Provisions

Additionally, VESSA would prohibit discrimination against abuse victims. The bill would also authorize the attorney general to award a grant to a private, nonprofit entity to establish and run a resource center and national clearinghouse for employers and labor organizations on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, according to the report.

The legislation is similar to bills introduced in 1997 by Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota) and in the House by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California). This time the Senate bill is being sponsored by Senators Patty Murray (D-Washington), Charles Schumer (D-New York), as well as Senator Wellstone.

Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard and Carolyn Maloney (D- New York) are sponsoring a House version.

– Nevin Adams