LANSING – State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) is introducing a bill that would support survivors of domestic violence, rape and stalking as they seek to recover from abusive situations. The bill would require employers that offer sick leave to allow employees to use that leave to receive assistance, such as moving to a domestic violence shelter, getting a medical exam at a hospital following rape or meeting with police or prosecutors.
“Seeking help after a violent situation is every bit as critical to an employee’s well-being as staying home with the flu,” said Brinks. “When an employer already offers sick leave, an employee should be able to use that time to get to safety and seek justice. No one should have to choose between safety and keeping a job, or between filing a police report and losing a day of pay.”
Brinks’ bill is part of a bipartisan package of legislation aimed at supporting survivors of rape, domestic abuse and stalking that was announced at a press event this morning. Other bills in the package include measures that would:
- Ensure confidentiality for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Urge colleges and universities to update their policies and training to deal with sexual assault on campus.
- Ensure individuals aren’t disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits as a consequence of being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
- Prevent landlords or realtors from discriminating against individuals on the basis of their status as a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
“These are basic, common-sense measures that will go a long way toward supporting people as they recover from unimaginable situations of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking,” Brinks said. “I’m hopeful that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and in both chambers of the Legislature, will come together and move these bills to the governor’s desk quickly.”