On October 23, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order that allows state employees who have experienced abuse by an intimate partner to use sick leave for paid safe days so that they can take the steps they need to protect themselves without fearing adverse consequences at work.
Below is a statement about the order from the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. To learn more about safe days and how you can incorporate them into your workplace, visit our Guide to Family Forward Workplaces Sick and Safe Leave section.
“(Gov. Cooper’s) Executive Directive provides important new employment
protections for survivors of domestic violence working for the NC state government and is a fantastic example of trauma-informed workplace policies for other North Carolina employers.
It is critically important to protect survivors’ rights and stability in the workplace. Economic instability and financial abuse are among the most common reasons that survivors stay with abusive partners. Without job stability and financial resources, survivors often can’t secure the safe and stable housing, child care, health care, and other basics they may need in order to leave an abusive partner and thrive in safety.
Too often, survivors have to choose between keeping their job and seeking the supportive services that could help them be safe. Many survivors are unable to access services that are only available or are safer during business hours. These services may include meeting with an attorney, getting a protective order or going through other legal proceedings, getting support
from a domestic violence service provider, moving to a safe location, or enrolling their children in a new school.
Survivors whose jobs make it difficult to seek services can feel isolated, unable to do their best work, and unsupported by their employer. Having policies like protected and paid safe days can make the workplace a crucial support system for survivors, rather than yet another barrier to getting
what they need.
Thanks to Governor Cooper’s directive, eligible state employees will no longer have to face these impossible dilemmas. Protected and paid safe days will mean that survivors can access services that can help them feel safe without worrying that they will lose out on the income they need, or even lose their jobs altogether.
The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence applauds the Governor’s Safe Days Executive Directive. We are grateful for the leadership of MomsRising on this issue, and we are also grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with our partners at the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, NC Child, and the Domestic Violence Commission to support the initiative. We look forward to continued advocacy with these and other community partners on behalf of survivors in North Carolina.”