From the Hotline: Domestic Violence Leave

Question: An employee in Washington has stated she needs leave because of domestic violence. What are we required to do?

Answer: Washington law allows victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to take reasonable or intermittent leave from work — paid or unpaid — to take care of legal or law enforcement needs or get medical treatment, social services assistance, or mental health counseling.

Family members of a victim may also take reasonable leave to help the victim obtain treatment or seek help. An employee may choose to use available accrued sick leave and other paid time off, compensatory time, or unpaid leave time. The leave under this law is in addition to other rights to take leave available to employees under other regulations.

An employer may require verification from an employee who is requesting leave. If so, an employee may provide one or more of the following:

  • A police report indicating the employee or employee’s family member was a victim.
  • A court order providing protection to the victim.
  • Documentation from a healthcare provider, advocate, clergy, or attorney.
  • An employee’s written statement that the employee or employee’s family member is a victim and needs assistance.

Family relationship may be determined by birth certificate, court document, or other similar record or a statement from the employee.


Help for Crime Victims is found in this Washington State online brochure providing an overview of the available services through the Crime Victims Compensation program.