Q. What are the key elements of Illinois’ Victim Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA)?
A. VESSA provides an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, or who has a family or household member who is a victim of domestic violence, with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per any 12-month period to address issues arising from domestic or sexual violence.
VESSA’s provisions dealing with health care benefits and leave time are similar to the ’s, but broader.
All employees (regardless of length of service or hours worked) have the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period in order to seek medical or psychological attention, participate in safety planning and counseling, obtain legal assistance when the employee (or a family member or member of the household) is the victim of domestic or sexual violence or abuse, and to seek medical or psychological attention or gain access to victim services.
Additionally, the employer must continue to provide the employee with health care benefits during this time. Upon return, the employer must restore the employee to the same position or an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.
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