News from Mothering Justice

April 1, 2015

Contact: Danielle Atkinson, 313.971.1492,

Domestic Violence Survivors Need Access to Earned Sick Leave

Advocates call for earned sick leave for survivors and victims of domestic violence

MT. CLEMENS – Today, domestic violence survivors and community activists held a press conference to highlight the need for survivors and victims of domestic violence to have access to earned sick leave.

“Getting back on your feet after surviving from domestic violence takes time — more time than most of us can imagine. Every week, we see survivors who are unable to fully access their rights in our criminal justice system because they are simply unable to take the time off work that it takes to exercise their rights,” said Carmen Wargel, Chair of the Macomb Community Domestic Violence Council. “It is past time for our elected leaders to ensure that survivors have a full range of opportunity for a peaceful life.”

Domestic violence survivors often need to take time away from their jobs to seek assistance, leave their abusers, find shelter, file personal protection orders, attend court dates or receive counseling. Having access to earned sick leave would ensure that survivors don’t have to choose between keeping themselves or their families safe and secure, or risking their job or paycheck.

“Earned sick leave would provide victims and survivors of domestic violence with guaranteed paid time off when they need it most. With access to earned sick leave, survivors could create a better life for themselves and their families. It’s time for our representatives to get this type of law on the books,” said Kalyn Risker, a domestic violence survivor and Executive Director of Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment (SAFE). 

Victims of domestic violence miss nearly 8 million days of paid work—the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs. Between 25 and 50 percent of domestic violence victims reported getting laid off, at least in part, due to domestic violence.

“Paid sick leave is a critical resource for domestic violence survivors because their financial well-being and safety are inextricably linked,” said Dr. Adrienne Adams, an MSU researcher who studies the economic impact of domestic violence. “Having earned sick leave helps give survivors the financial stability they need to seek safety and continue working to support themselves and their families.”