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Allegheny

Peduto orders paid time off for city employees who are victims of domestic violence

Bob Bauder
| Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 10:33 a.m.
Mayor William Peduto, speaks after announcing the removal of Pittsburgh's status as a distressed municipality at the City-County Building, Downtown, on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Mayor William Peduto, speaks after announcing the removal of Pittsburgh's status as a distressed municipality at the City-County Building, Downtown, on Monday, Feb. 12, 2018.

Pittsburgh's nonunion employees who are victims of domestic violence will have access to paid sick leave under an executive order Mayor Bill Peduto issued Tuesday.

About 612 nonunion employees will become eligible in July to use the paid leave if they're the victim of an incident involving domestic violence. Peduto gave city staff and several nonprofits that provide assistance to victims of domestic violence 90 days to work out details.

Janet Manuel, director of human resources and civil service, said the number of days off provided could depend on the circumstances.

“It is our hope that companies around the city of Pittsburgh, organizations, nonprofits will follow suit,” Peduto said, adding that he would expand the program to include union employees during future bargaining sessions.

Manuel said the cost of employee absences and lost productivity because of domestic violence would far outweigh the cost of providing paid sick leave.

Susan Frietsche, senior staff attorney with Downtown-based Women's Law Project, said domestic violence survivors lose seven days of work on average per year dealing with such things as protection from abuse orders, custody litigation and finding safe housing.

“The Women's Law Project hears almost on a daily basis from women who are struggling to get safe and to get their children safe, and one of the biggest barriers to them achieving that safety is insecurity relating to money and to their job,” she said. “For those experiencing intimate partner violence, job security is absolutely imperative for their safety and their ability to establish an independent and safe life for themselves and their children.”

Peduto's order requires the Department of Human Resources and Civil Service to create a policy governing paid sick leave by July 3 with help from groups including the city's Gender Equity Commission, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Women's Law Project, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape and the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

The National Partnership for Women & Families estimates that each year, 20 million people in the United States experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking from a partner. An estimated 1,300 women die and nearly 2 million are injured each year as a result of domestic violence.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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