Monday, March 9, 2015

2015 Indiana House Bill 1348 - Domestic Violence Safe Leave

Indiana HB1348 was introduced by Representative Kirchhofer. This is an employment bill that provides safe leave for persons who were targets of Domestic Violence and are participating in certain actions as a consequence of the act of Domestic Violence. The bill would add a new section to the Indiana Code at 22-2-17.

The bill provides that an employee who is absent from work for any of the following reasons related to Domestic Violence or Family Violence may use safe leave for the absence to engage in any of the following:
Meeting with prosecutors and representatives of law enforcement agencies;
Seeking or receiving legal assistance;
Participating in civil or criminal proceedings, including a petition for an order for protection under the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act found at IC 34-26-5;
Seeking medical attention for, or recovering from, physical injuries;
Receiving psychological or other counseling;
Obtaining services from victim assistance programs; or
Relocating or taking other necessary steps to increase the employee's safety.

The bill sets a limitation on when the leave may be taken. An employee may take safe leave during a period not to exceed one year following the date on which the employee was involved in an incident of Domestic Violence or Family Violence. This is a reasonable limitation to accommodate most of those activities. However, if you are familiar with the way a case proceeds through the criminal courts then you are likely aware of the dilatory possibilities that advance proceedings well beyond one year. I suggest that the bill be amended to place the basis of participating in court proceedings before the section with a time limitation.

While it is my goal to eliminate Domestic Violence I believe the consequence of legislation like this will encumber progress toward that goal. When we start accomodating we are being tolerant or accepting. Thus, we are becoming enablers. If there are behaviours that we find intolerable, of which Domestic Violence should be, then we should not establish an ethos of enabling, which is tolerance. I have recently written about another Domestic Violence bill authored by Rep Kirchhofer, 2015 Indiana House Bill 1007 Domestic Violence Funding Authorization, in which I explained some of my other objections to funding Domestic Violence matters.

From a domestic labour perspective I encourage the adoption of policies that result in having employees working in the United States. The best employee is a robot, the second best is one where there is a free market for labour. The worst employee is one who does not arrive as scheduled, provides insufficient output, and cost more to service than another. The worst employees are likely in France which has such an over regulated labour market with a strong bias toward non-productivity that France has, as a consequence, high unemployment.

This bill provides that an employee is entitled to unpaid safe leave for a period not to exceed three consecutive days per absence at any time. That beginning on the ninety-first day after the employee's date of hire, the employee accrues paid safe leave at the rate of one day for every thirty days worked. Also, that the safe leave allowed an employee may not exceed a total of thirty days in a twelve month period. For the employers benefit the employee is to give the employer reasonable advanced notification which would be for meetings associated with or actual court dates, and follow-up appointment with care providers. For some businesses replacing an employee for up to three days at a time now and then could be difficult. Considering holidays, vacation time, family leave, and now this additional 30 days it is getting to where a full-time employee may work less than half the days in a year.

Essentially all of these feel-good accommodating employment laws are eliminating prioritizing or decision making by employees and ultimately reducing employment opportunities domestically. As we continue shifting toward an employment model that stresses more productivity [hours] from fewer employees the resulting increase in unemployment and stress on those employed could exascerbate Domestic Violence.

Click here to see other 2015 Indiana Child Custody and Child Support Payment bills.

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1 comment:

Eliseo Weinstein said...

I really have to applaud this bill and those who introduced it. A victim of domestic violence can not simply fix everything in a weekend or a few days off the job. This bill gives them time to make all the adjustments and get everything in order so they can be productive at the work place again in the future.