Domestic abuse victims can get time off work to get help. Their employer can’t fire them for taking the time off. They can also get unemployment for leaving their job due to domestic abuse.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is physical abuse, harassment, or intimidation inflicted by a household member.
Can I take time off of work to deal with domestic abuse?
Yes. Victims of domestic or sexual abuse can time off work to address issues arising from such abuse. This also applies to people who have family or household members who are victims of such abuse.
How much time off do I get?
The amount of time depends on how many employees your employer has. See the table below:
|Number of workers your employer has||Time you can take off in a year|
|50 or more workers||12 work weeks|
|15-49 workers||8 work weeks|
|1-14 workers||4 work weeks|
What reasons can I take off work for?
You may take off time to seek:
- Medical help,
- Victim services,
- Legal assistance,
- Psychological or other counseling,
- Safety planning help or
Do I have to give my employer notice?
Yes. You must provide the employer with at least 48 hours’ notice. Use our program to help you write a letter to request time off.
If you can't provide 48 hours notice, you should tell your employer as soon as possible that you are taking the time off.
Your employer can also require you to give them a letter. The letter must state that you, or your family or household member, are a victim. It must also say that you are using the time off for one of the reasons above.
Finally, if you have one of the following documents, your employer can require you to give them a copy:
- A letter from someone at a victim services organization, an attorney, a clergy member, or medical professional;
- A police or court record; or
- Other relevant evidence.
If you do not have these documents in your possession, your employer cannot require you to give them a copy.
Can I ask my employer to change something to help me?
You can request that your employer make reasonable changes (“accommodations”) to help you stay safe and economically secure. If your employer doesn’t make the changes, they must tell you why doing so would be an “undue hardship.” An “undue hardship” means a change that would be very hard or expensive for the employer.
Reasonable changes may include an adjustment to a job structure, workplace, or work requirement. This could include:
- A transfer or reassignment;
- Different work schedule;
- Changed telephone number or seating assignment;
- Installation of a lock;
- A safety plan; or
- Help with documenting domestic or sexual violence that happens at the workplace.
Your employer must make the change in a timely manner. They must consider any danger you may be facing.
Your employer is not allowed to tell anyone else about your situation, unless you say it’s okay in writing.
Is my job really safe?
Yes. Employers may not retaliate against you in any way for exercising your rights listed above.
How do I file a complaint?
Contact the Illinois Department of Labor within 3 years of the incident.
Can I get unemployment benefits if I leave my job?
Yes. If you need to leave your job for your safety, you can still get unemployment benefits, but you must give your employer written notice of your reason for leaving.
You also must give information to the unemployment office. You need to give them as much information as possible. You do not have to prove that domestic violence occurred, but you must provide at least one of the following documents:
Illinois Department of Human Services
Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-877-TO END DV or 1-877-863-6338
Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (Cook County)
Updated: February 2018