Washington State provides victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the opportunity to take time off from work. This leave is available to all employees and qualifying family members.

Victims and their family members can use domestic violence leave for:

  • Legal or law enforcement assistance and court proceedings,
  • Medical and psychological help,
  • Help from social service programs,
  • Safety planning, or
  • Relocating.

Domestic violence leave is not limited by an employee’s available paid time off. It can include reasonable amounts of unpaid leave. Employees can also request a reasonable safety accommodation from their employer. An employee’s job is protected by law when using this leave.

For employees

You can use any available leave if you or a qualifying family member has experienced domestic violence including:

• Paid time off
• Sick leave
• Leave without pay

Leave can be used as a single block of time, intermittently, or on an adjusted schedule.

Safety accommodations

Victims of domestic violence and their qualifying family members can request safety accommodations at their place of work, including:

  • A job transfer or reassignment
  • Changing work telephone or email
  • Implementation of safety procedures

Employers must provide reasonable safety accommodations when requested, unless they create an undue hardship.

If you feel your employer has violated your rights under the Domestic Violence Leave Act, you can file a protected leave complaint <link>.

Documentation

Your employer can request documentation of your need for leave. However, they must respect your privacy rights. Appropriate documentation includes:

  • Police reports or court documents
  • An employee’s written statement
  • A statement from a provider, clergy, attorney, or advocate
For employers

Employers cannot retaliate or discriminate against an actual or perceived victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking or any qualifying family member. Employers must accommodate requests for time off or safety accommodations, and allow employees to use any available paid or unpaid leave as needed.

Safety accommodations

Employees can request a safety accommodation related to domestic violence, including:

  • A job transfer or reassignment
  • Changing work telephone or email
  • Implementation of safety procedures

Employers must provide reasonable safety accommodations when requested, unless it creates an undue hardship.

Documentation

Employers can request documentation to support an employee’s request for leave or accommodation. Documentation can include:

  • Police report or court documents
  • Employee’s written statement
  • Statement from a provider, clergy, or advocate.

Employers must protect the employee’s rights to privacy and should treat reports of domestic violence with discretion. All protected, sensitive, or confidential documentation, reports, and records must be handled according to all applicable state and federal privacy laws.