Kami Reep of Sonoma County, California was let go from work twice last year—not because she wasn’t able to perform her duties as a bookkeeper or because she did her job poorly, but because she needed to take time off when her ex-husband and abuser took two of their three young children from an afterschool program and fled the state.
Reep took three days off from work without pay when her children first went missing. Before she returned to the office, Reep was notified by email that she was being fired because of the situation with her ex-husband and the “added stress.”
“I felt like no one else would hire me,” Reep says.
On Election Day, voters in Washington and Arizona will have the option of supporting ballot initiatives that would allow victims of domestic violence to take paid time off from work, too. If Washington’s I-1433 and Arizona’s Prop 206 passes, domestic violence survivors in those states “wouldn’t have to miss a paycheck or make a decision between going to court or going to work, or fear losing their jobs,” says Kellie MacDonald-Evoy, public policy advocate for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. The Coalition estimates that about 804,000 women and 454,000 men in Arizona will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
California is among five states (the others are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont) and a dozen localities (including Chicago, Santa Monica, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC) that have already passed “safe time” laws. This chart created by A Better Balance, a national legal advocacy organization that advocates for family-friendly laws and workplace policies, compares state and local laws offering paid sick and safe time.
Read more: Quartz »