Intermittent - Abuse of Child

We have an employee who recently learned that her child was molested by her former boyfriend. He has been arrested in another county and she will need to be off intermittently to attend hearings, etc. Although the leave would not be to specifically care for the child or for counseling/therapy appointments, could we consider this FML? Our area is not required to provide family time-off leave.

Thank you.

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  • DMK, here is a response from Stacie Caraway, an employment law attorney with Miller & Martin PLLC in Chattanooga. She frequently speaks on FMLA issues at BLR's Advanced Employment Issues Symposium. Her contact info is down below. tk

    From Stacie:
    1. This would not qualify as FMLA leave.

    2. Another thing the company's HR professional may want to check is to make sure the state the employee works in does not provide any type of domestic violence, sexual abuse, or stalking leave (as she says no state FML leave is available). I have a list of all the states that have this other type of leave if she would like us to check on her state in this regard, as this type of leave would usually cover court-related legal appointments, etc.

    3. If her state does not provide this type of leave, the next thing to check is if the company she works for is a federal contractor so as to be covered by the new Paid Sick Leave law that went into effect for federal contractors at the beginning of this year, which provides for 7 days of paid sick leave per year and which can be used to procure legal assistance for a family member who is a victim of sexual abuse.

    4. The last type of leave to consider is any other types of leave provided under her company’s general leave policies such as vacation or other forms of paid or unpaid time off for which the employee may qualify.

    5. Finally, if the employee is subpoenaed to testify as part of any of the boyfriend’s hearings, etc., she would in most states be excused from work for this (although this subpoena-related leave is usually without pay).

    Stacie L. Caraway
    direct (423) 785-8399
    fax (423) 321-1579

    Volunteer Building Suite 1200
    832 Georgia Avenue
    Chattanooga, TN 37402