A.B. 2992 Makes All Survivors of Violence Eligible to Take Time Off Work Without Fearing Loss of Employment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2020
Will Matthews, Californians for Safety and Justice, (909) 261-1398; [email protected]
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law a bill allowing all victims of violent crime to take time off work after a crime has occurred without having to worry about being penalized or fired.
Authored by Asm. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and sponsored by Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice, the largest network of survivors of crime in California and the nation, A.B. 2992 makes survivors of violent crime, as well as the immediate family members of homicide victims, eligible for unpaid employment leave protections. The bill also expands acceptable forms of documentation to verify that a crime occurred.
California law had previously protected only victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking from being fired or discriminated against for taking time off work to secure a restraining order or protective order, access victims services or mental healthcare or take actions to ensure their safety. These important protections have now been expanded to all survivors of violent crime.
A survey of crime survivors commissioned by Californians for Safety and Justice found that one in four California survivors missed work following the crime and two in three reported experiencing anxiety, stress or difficulty with sleeping, relationships or work. Half of survivors said it took more than six months after being victimized to recover.
Studies also show that survivors of violent crime, and especially low income survivors, overwhelmingly need support meeting basic needs following a crime, including securing safe housing and maintaining stable employment. And a recent study by the Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, found that the majority of parents of homicide victims report difficulty returning to work and more than one in four family members had quit their jobs or were fired for missing work within two years of their loved one’s murder.
“All survivors of violent crime and their loved ones must be allowed to take time off work to secure their safety and access victim services to recover following a crime,” said Tinisch Hollins, California state director for Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “It was never okay for a survivor of violent crime to have to choose between their safety and financial security, especially during this time of pandemic and increased financial instability. Survivors of violent crime will too often remain in unsafe circumstances and not get the help they need because they are afraid of losing their job and income, exacerbating cycles of harm and trauma. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Gov. Newsom for signing this bill and ensuring victims of violent crime can do what they need to do for their safety and well-being.”