What You Need to Know About Domestic Violence Leave in Georgia
Georgia does not require employers to provide domestic violence leave to employees. Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence leave in Georgia.
While Georgia does not have laws ensuring domestic violence leave for employees, other aspects of federal and state law protect employees in other ways.
What is Domestic Violence Leave in Georgia?
Domestic violence is abuse against another person within a home or relationship. It includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, stalking, threats, and more.
Some states have laws requiring employers to grant employees leave to deal with issues surrounding domestic violence, including:
- Meeting with legal officials, including obtaining a restraining order
- Seeking medical attention
- Meeting with victim advocates or an attorney
- Attending legal proceedings
Georgia does not have laws ensuring employers grant domestic violence leave, but other aspects of federal and state laws protect employees in specific ways.
Related: Georgia Employee Monitoring Laws
The Family Medical Leave Act
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law, requires employers to grant up to 12 weeks of leave to employees to deal with their serious medical issues, care for a family member with a serious medical issue, or take care of a new child.
Employers must meet a few conditions for the FMLA to apply to the company, including:
- The company must have at least 50 employees who work within a 75-mile radius
- The employee must have worked for the company for at least 12 months
- The employee must have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately before the leave
The FMLA classifies a serious medical condition as one that prevents the employee from performing their job functions, including a condition resulting from domestic violence.
The FMLA also allows employees to take leave to care for a family member with a serious medical condition, including one resulting from an act of domestic violence. This family member must be a parent, spouse, or child.
The FMLA does not require that employers provide paid leave during this time.
When the leave ends, employers must reinstate the employee to the same position held before the leave or an equivalent position. The FMLA allows for a few exceptions to this rule, including:
- If the company eliminates the position during the employee’s leave for a reason other than that employee’s absence
- If the employee is considered a key employee within the highest-paid 10% of employees who work within a 75-mile radius and reinstating the employee could cause economic hardship to the employer
If an employee is considered a key employee, their employer must warn them before they take leave that they may not be entitled to return.
If the employer provides a group health insurance plan, employees are entitled to continued coverage during their time of leave. If the employee voluntarily decides not to return to work at the end of their leave, the employer may require the employee to reimburse the company for premiums paid during the employee’s leave.
Leave for Attending a Judicial Proceeding in Georgia
Georgia requires employers to provide leave from employees to attend judicial proceedings requiring the employee’s presence, including if the employee is summoned for jury duty, subpoenaed, or any other process requiring attendance. For example, employers must provide leave for employees to testify against their abuser.
Employers may not fire, discipline, or penalize employees for attending these proceedings.
This protection does not apply to employees charged with a crime. Georgia does not require employers to provide leave for employees to attend legal proceedings connected to charges against the employee.
Employees must still follow company regulations to notify their employer about their absence a reasonable time in advance of the leave.