Do I have the right to take time off from my job to deal with domestic violence against me or a family member?
It depends. Under Florida State law, you have a right to take up to 3 days off from work in a twelve-month period so that you can take legal and medical actions to protect yourself or a family member from domestic violence. However, the law only applies to companies that have at least 50 employees and you must have been working at the company for three months or more.1
If you work at a place that has less than 50 employees, or if you have been working for your employer for less than three months, then your employer does not have to give you time off for domestic violence issues. However, different employers might have different rules, policies, or contracts, that might let you take this time off anyway. For example, some employee manuals and some union contracts might allow for employees to take time off for domestic violence issues. You can contact your union representative (if you are in a union) or contact a trusted supervisor at your job, to find out more information about what the employer offers.
Note: If you work in Miami-Dade County, then your employer has to give you up to 30 days off from work, to seek medical or dental care, legal assistance, court appearances, counseling, child support hearings, or other services or court appearances that are related to domestic violence issues.2
1 Fla. Stat. § 741.313(2) &(3)
2 Miami-Dade Cty., Fla Code § 11A-61
What is considered to be “domestic violence” under the law?
Domestic violence is defined as any assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.1
1 Fla. Stat. § 741.313(1)(a) & 741.28(2)
I know I can take time off to help a family member who is being abused. Who is considered a “family member” under the law?
A “family member” can be a spouse or former spouse; someone related to you by blood or marriage; someone who you have a child in common with; or someone who lives/lived together with you like a family in the same apartment/house.1
1 Fla. Stat. § 741.313(1)(d) & 741.28(3)
What legal or medical actions, specifically, can I use the 1 to 3 days off from work to do?
Your employer must let you take time off from work to do the any of the following things if they are related to domestic violence for you or a family member:
- To Get an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence (a restraining order);
- To Get Medical Help – to see a doctor, mental health counselor, or health care professional, to take care of injuries or health problems (both physical and psychological) caused by domestic violence;
- To Get Legal Help – to go to court, to testify in court, or to seek help from lawyers or legal counseling;
- To Seek Domestic Violence Services—to go to a domestic violence shelter, domestic violence program or rape crisis center, if you are going to seek help for domestic violence;
- To Make Your Home Safe From Your Abuser – to make your home safe from domestic violence, or to try to find new housing to get away from the abuser.1
1 Fla. Stat. § 741.313(2)(b)