Domestic violence is a problem that continues to plague the nation. Unfortunately, New Jersey residents are not immune to this form of abuse. In fact, recently reported that domestic violence incidents in the state are on the rise.

In response to this new trend, a law was passed in the state that allows employees to receive leave when dealing with domestic violence issues. The law, entitled the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act, took effect on October 1st of 2013.

Details of the New Jersey Security and Financial Empowerment Act

The law is designed to offer a victim or other qualifying individual time away from work without fearing job loss. It allows for an individual to take up to 20 days within a single year.

The act, also referred to by the acronym SAFE, covers a variety of circumstances. Some examples include:

  • Medical attention. The act allows a victim who needs attention to recover from physical or psychological abuse to seek treatment. It also extends to allow an employee to take leave to aid a child, parent, spouse, domestic partner or civil union partner.
  • Obtaining services. The law also covers time needed to find services to assist a domestic violence victim.
  • Legal counsel. Victims that need to meet with a lawyer to protect their legal rights also qualify for protections under SAFE.

Those who qualify for protections must use the time within 12 months of the incident that led to domestic violence or sexual violence.

SAFE also extends to prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee for using these protections. Any termination, harassment or other form of discrimination based on the use of SAFE protections is strictly forbidden.

How to receive SAFE protections

Those who are the victims of domestic or sexual violence, or those who have a child, spouse, parent, domestic partner or civil union partner who has been victimized may qualify for these protections. In order to receive SAFE protections, a form must be filed with the court within one year of the violent event.

It is important to note that SAFE is only one form of protections offered by New Jersey law to the victims of domestic violence. Those who are victimized should contact an experienced New Jersey domestic violence lawyer. This legal professional will review your case and discuss various legal options, including protection orders.