1581  VICTIM OF DOMESTIC OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE LEAVE

 

In accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq., an employee who was a victim of an incident of domestic violence as defined in Section 3 of P.L. 1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19) or a sexually violent offense as defined in Section 3 of P.L.1998, c.71 (C.30:4-27.26), or whose child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner was a victim shall be entitled to unpaid leave of no more than twenty days in one twelve-month period, to be used in the twelve-month period following any incident of domestic violence or any sexually violent offense as provided in N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq.

 

For the purposes of N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and this Policy, an “employee” means a person who is employed for at least twelve months by the Board of Education, with respect to whom benefits are sought under N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. – “NJ SAFE Act” for not less than 1,000 hours during the immediately preceding twelve-month period.

 

For the purposes of N.J.S.A. 34:11C-3 and this Policy, each incident of domestic violence or any sexually violent offense shall constitute a separate offense for which an employee is entitled to unpaid leave, provided the employee has not exhausted the allotted twenty days for the twelve-month period.  The unpaid leave may be taken intermittently in intervals of no less than one day, as needed for the purpose of engaging in any of the following activities as they relate to the incident of domestic violence or a sexually violent offense:

 

  1. Seeking medical attention for, or recovering from, physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence to the employee or the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner;

 

  1. Obtaining services from a victim services organization for the employee or the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner;

 

  1. Obtaining psychological or other counseling for the employee or the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner;

 

 

 

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  1. Participating in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocating, or taking other actions to increase the safety of the employee or the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner from future domestic or sexual violence or to ensure economic security;

 

  1. Seeking legal assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner, including preparing for, or participating in, any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or derived from domestic or sexual violence; or

 

  1. Attending, participating in, or preparing for a criminal or civil court proceeding relating to an incident of domestic or sexual violence of which the employee or the employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner, was a victim.

 

An eligible employee may elect, or the Board of Education may require the employee, to use any of the accrued paid vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave (in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 18A:30-1) during any part of the twenty-day period of unpaid leave provided under N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq.  In such case, any paid leave provided by the Board, and accrued pursuant to established policies of the Board, and accrued pursuant to established policies of the Board, shall run concurrently with the unpaid leave provided under N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and, accordingly, the employee shall receive pay pursuant to the Board’s applicable paid leave policy during the period of otherwise unpaid leave.  If an employee requests leave for a reason covered by both N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and the “Family Leave Act,” P.L. 1989, c.261 (C.34:11B-1 et seq.) or the Federal “Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, “Pub.L.103-3 (29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.), the leave shall count simultaneously against the employee’s entitlement under each respective law.

 

Leave granted under N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and this Policy shall not conflict with any rights pursuant to the “Family Leave Act,” P.L.1989, c.261 (C.34:11B-1 et seq.), the “Temporary Disability Benefits Law,” P.L.1948, c.110 (C.43:21-25 et seq.), or the Federal “Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993,” Pub.L.103-3 (29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.).

 

Prior to taking this leave an employee shall, if the necessity for the leave is foreseeable, provide the Superintendent of Schools with written notice of the need for the leave.  The notice shall be provided as far in advance as is reasonable and practical under the circumstances.

 

Nothing contained in N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and this Policy shall be construed to prohibit the Superintendent from requiring that a period of this leave be supported by the employee with documentation of the domestic violence or a sexually violent offense which is the basis for the leave.  If documentation is required, the employee shall be regarded as having provided sufficient documentation if the employee provides one or more of the following:

 

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  1. A domestic violence restraining order or other documentation of equitable relief issued by a court of competent jurisdiction;

 

  1. A letter or other written documentation from the county or municipal prosecutor documenting the domestic violence or a sexually violent offense;

 

  1. Documentation of the conviction of a person for the domestic violence or a sexually violent offense;

 

  1. Medical documentation of the domestic violence or a sexually violent offense;

 

  1. Certification from a certified Domestic Violence Specialist or the director of a designated domestic violence agency or Rape Crisis Center, stating that the employee or employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner is a victim of domestic violence or a sexually violent offense; or

 

  1. Other documentation or certification of the domestic violence or a sexually violent offense provided by a social worker, member of the clergy, shelter worker, or other professional who has assisted the employee or employee’s child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or civil union partner in dealing with the domestic violence or a sexually violent offenses.

 

For the purposes of N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and this Policy, “Certified Domestic Violence Specialist” means a person who has fulfilled the requirements of certification as a Domestic Violence Specialist established by the New Jersey Association of Domestic Violence Professionals; and “designated domestic violence agency” means a county-wide organization with a primary purpose to provide services to victims of domestic violence services profile as defined by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families and is under contract with the division for the express purpose of providing the services.

 

For the purposes of N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and this Policy, “Rape Crisis Center” means an office, institution, or center offering assistance to victims of sexual offenses through crisis intervention, medical and legal information, and follow-up counseling.

 

The Board shall display conspicuous notice of its employees’ rights and obligations pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq., in such form and in such manner as the Commissioner or Labor and Workforce Development shall prescribe, and use other appropriate means to keep its employees to informed.

 

No provision of N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and this Policy shall be construed as requiring or permitting the Board to reduce employment benefits provided by the Board or required by a collective bargaining agreement which are in excess of those required by N.J.S.A. 3411C-1 et

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seq.  Nor shall any provision of N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. be construed to prohibit the negotiation an provision through collective bargaining agreements of leave policies or benefit programs which provide benefits in excess of those required by N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq.  This provision shall apply irrespective of the date that a collective bargaining agreement takes effect.

 

Nothing contained in N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. and this Policy shall be construed as permitting the Board to:

 

  1. Rescind or reduce any employment benefit accrued prior to the date on which the leave taken pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq. commended; or
  2. Rescind or reduce any employment benefit, unless the rescission or reduction of the benefit is based on changes that would have occurred if any employee continued to work without taking the leave provided pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq.

 

All information and/or documentation provided to the Board or Superintendent of Schools pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq., any information regarding a leave taken pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq., and any failure of an employee to return to work, shall be retained in the strictest confidentiality, unless the disclosure is voluntarily authorized in writing by the employee or is required by a Federal or State law, rule, or regulation.

 

The Board of Education shall not discharge, harass or otherwise discriminate or retaliate or threaten to discharge, harass or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment on the basis that the employee took or requested any leave to which the employee was entitled pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:11C-3 or on the basis that the employee refused to authorize the release of information deemed confidential pursuant to N.J.S.A. 34:11C-3.f.

 

N.J.S.A. 34:11C-1 et seq.

 

 

Adopted:  July 2014