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Cleveland City Council proposes 'paid safe leave' for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence

The policy would provide 60 hours of paid time off for full-time, non-union employees. Part-time employees would be eligible for 30 hours.

CLEVELAND — Cleveland City Council proposed legislation on Wednesday that would establish a paid leave policy for city employees who are experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault.

If passed by council, the legislation would provide 60 hours of paid time off annually to full-time city employees who have survived sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking. It would also apply for employees who are parents of a child victim. Part-time workers would receive 30 hours.

The legislation, introduced by council members Jasmin Santana, Stephanie Howse and Charles Slife, would be for non-union city employees, although council says it plans to encourage Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb's administration to work with union leaders to extend the policy to them. 

Under the proposed ordinance, city employees who are experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault will be able to take paid time off to receive medical care, take care of legal matters, seek safe shelter, and attend to other needs that ensure their physical and mental well-being. The paid safe leave will not be deducted from the employee's other time off benefits. 

In order to receive the paid safe leave, employees would be required to obtain documentation from one of the following agencies:

  • An employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim-services organization 
  • An attorney
  • A member of the clergy
  • A medical or other professional from whom the employee has sought assistance in addressing domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking
  • A police report or court record

The legislation will be reviewed by several city leaders as well as various council committees. The next Cleveland City Council meeting is set for September 12. 

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