7/7/2007 - For many years, Seay Management has recommended a Personal Leave Policy for employers. Personal leave is normally unpaid and is available to employees under special or unusual circumstances. The purpose of a Personal Leave is to help an employee out of a tough spot, if you can, by granting the employee time off to handle personal matters. Most of the time, employers grant personal leave only after an employee has used all of his or her benefit time and has no other leave of absence benefits available (such as FMLA or other leave). While every employee is treated fairly and equally, most experts agree that personal leaves are granted at the discretion of the employer and the circumstances of each situation are taken into consideration. We’re enclosing a sample Personal Leave policy in this newsletter.

Personal Leave for Specific Situations.

One of the Human Resources phenomena of our time is seeing various states enact employment regulations that require employers to deal with specific situations. We’ve noticed this in certain states with respect to matters like sickle cell disease, DNA testing, child care, parental attendance at school meetings and others. In Florida, as of July 1, 2007, there is a new employer requirement for employees who have been the victims of domestic violence. This requirement covers only employers with 50 or more employees and does not apply to employers of less than 50 employees. Covered employers must provide three days of unpaid leave to employees who have been victims of domestic violence.

The purpose of the leave is to handle matters relating to the incident, such as securing medical care for the employee and family members, seeking an injunction for protection, seeking counseling services, securing the home and seeking legal assistance. While the employer has the right to request documentation, our advice is to be very generous in granting this leave. In addition, employers may require that employees use all available benefit time, prior to using this new domestic violence leave. We’re enclosing a sample policy in this newsletter.

What Other States Have Domestic Violence Leave Requirements?

Seay Management has clients in virtually every state in the country and, according to our most recent survey, only North Carolina and Illinois have similar requirements. If your business is in one of those two states, please contact us and we will provide you with a policy for your state.

What to do From Here . . . .

If you are a covered employer in the state of Florida, we recommend that you include this new domestic violence leave policy in your employee handbook. We also recommend that you have a separate Personal Leave policy in addition to your other leave policies. If you are not a covered employer, we recommend the Personal Leave policy as a good idea that promotes high employee morale and greater job satisfaction. Please contact any of us here at Seay Management if you have any questions or if you would like to talk about these two policies or any other matter related to Human Resources Management. We appreciate having you as a friend and client of our firm.


PERSONAL LEAVE - If you need to have time off to handle personal situations that may occur, and if you have exhausted all of your benefit time, talk with your supervisor and put your request in writing. If possible, you may be granted an unpaid personal leave of absence, so long as this is compatible with work schedules and customer service. Personal leaves are rare, are intended for unusual circumstances, are limited to a maximum of 30 days and are not intended to take the place of other official leaves. Granting of a personal leave is at the discretion of the company and the circumstances of each case are considered. You must have been employed for at least one year, in order to qualify for personal leave and must pay the full group insurance premium while you are gone. When you return, you will be offered the next available opening for which you are qualified, which may be a different job at a different rate of pay.

SPECIAL PERSONAL LEAVE IN THE EVENT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - If you have been the victim of domestic violence, and if you have been employed for three months or longer, you may be entitled to a special unpaid leave of absence of up to three days, in order to deal with matters connected with the event, such as obtaining medical care for yourself or family members, securing injunctions for protection, counseling, personal security and legal advice. If possible, please provide a one week advance notice of your need for the leave, although this may be waived under certain circumstances, such as in the case of imminent danger to the safety of you or your family. You must utilize all of your regular benefit (vacation and sick leave) prior to using this special personal leave. Please be assured that all information relating to this leave will be kept strictly confidential. The company reserves the right to require supporting documentation of the need for the leave.

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