Report Title:

Employment Security; Domestic Violence

 

Description:

Establishes eligibility for unemployment insurance.† (HB332 HD1)

 


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

332

TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT


 

 

RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT SECURITY.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


†††† SECTION 1.† The legislature finds that violence against women has been reported to be the leading cause of physical injury and has a devastating impact on women's physical and emotional health and financial security.

†††† The purpose of this Act is to promote the Stateís interest in reducing domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking by enabling victims of domestic or sexual violence to maintain the financial independence necessary to leave abusive situations, achieve safety, and minimize the physical and emotional injuries from domestic or sexual violence, and to reduce the devastating economic consequences of domestic or sexual violence to employers and employees.

†††† To accomplish these purposes, this Act provides unemployment insurance to those who are separated from their employment as a result of domestic or sexual violence, in a manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers.

†††† SECTION 2.† Chapter 383, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding one new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

†††† "ß383‑† ††Eligibility of benefits for domestic or sexual violence victims.††† (a)† Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, an individual shall not be denied benefits where the individual is separated voluntarily or involuntarily from employment due to circumstances set forth in this subsection resulting from the individual's or the individual's minor child's being a victim of domestic or sexual violence.

†††† (1)An individualís voluntary separation from employment shall be deemed for good cause for purposes of section 383‑30 in any of the following circumstances:

†††††††† (A)The individual has a reasonable fear of the occurrence of future domestic or sexual violence at, en route to, or en route from, the individualís place of employment, including being a victim of stalking;

†††††††† (B)The anxiety of the individual to relocate to avoid future domestic or sexual violence against the individual or the individualís minor child prevents the individual from reporting to work;

†††††††† (C)The individualís or the individual's minor child's need to obtain treatment to recover from the physical or psychological effects of domestic or sexual violence prevents the individual from reporting to work;

†††††††† (D)The employer's refusal to grant the individualís request for leave to address domestic or sexual violence and its effects on the individual or the individualís minor child, including leave authorized by Chapter 378, Section 102 of the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, or other federal, state, or county law; or

†††††††† (E)Any other circumstance in which domestic or sexual violence causes the individual to reasonably believe that separation from employment is necessary for the future safety of the individual, the individualís minor child, or other individuals who may be present in the employerís workplace.

†††† (2)An individualís involuntary separation (suspension or discharge) from employment shall not be considered misconduct for purposes of section 383‑30 if:

†††††††† (A)The employer's discharge of the individual was due to the individualís actions, including absences from work, where such actions were reasonably necessary to protect the individual or the individual's minor child from domestic or sexual violence; or

†††††††† (B)The employer's discharge of the individual was due to circumstances resulting from the individual's or the individual's minor child's being a victim of domestic or sexual violence.

†††† (b)† Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, an individual who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence shall have good cause for not accepting otherwise suitable, available work in the following circumstances:

†††† (1)The individual reasonably believes that the employment will subject the individual, the individualís minor child, or other individuals in the workplace to an unreasonable risk of violence, despite the individual having sought appropriate assistance in responding to the domestic or sexual violence, including reporting the violence to the police, obtaining services from a victim services organization, and taking other appropriate legal action;

†††† (2)The individual or the individual's minor child is seeking or residing in an emergency shelter, or is engaged in temporary or permanent relocation, regardless of whether the individual has actually obtained such refuge or accomplished such relocation; or

†††† (3)The individual reasonably believes that options such as taking a leave of absence, transferring jobs, or receiving an alternative work schedule would not be sufficient to guarantee the safety of the individual, the individualís minor child, or other individuals in the workplace.

†††† (c)† Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, an individual who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirement of undertaking an active search for employment where the individual has registered for work and has not been offered an employment opportunity that reasonably accommodates the individualís need to take care of the physical, psychological, legal, and other effects of the domestic or sexual violence within thirty days after the date of the individual's loss of employment.

†††† (d)† The department may require an individual to provide certification demonstrating that the individualís loss of employment and continued unemployment is due to the individual's or the individualís minor child's being a victim of domestic or sexual violence.† To demonstrate the individual's eligibility for benefits, the department may request the following evidence:

†††† (1)A notarized written statement of the individual attesting to the individual's or the individual's minor child's having been a victim of domestic or sexual violence and explaining how the domestic or sexual violence caused the individualís loss of employment or continuing unemployment;

†††† (2)A signed written statement from:

†††††††† (A)An employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim services organization;

†††††††† (B)The individual's attorney or advocate;

†††††††† (C)A minor child's attorney or advocate; or

†††††††† (D)A medical or other professional from whom the individual or the individual's minor child has sought assistance related to the domestic or sexual violence,

††††††††† attesting to the domestic or sexual violence and explaining how the domestic or sexual violence caused the individualís loss of employment or continuing unemployment; or

†††† (3)A police or court record suggesting or demonstrating that the domestic or sexual violence was the cause of the individualís loss of employment or continuing unemployment.

†††† (e)† All information provided to the department pursuant to this section, including any statement of the individual or any other documentation, record, or corroborating evidence discussing or relating to sexual or domestic violence, and the fact that the individual has applied for, inquired about, or obtained unemployment compensation by reason of this section shall be retained in the strictest confidence by the individualís former or current employer, and shall not be disclosed except to the extent that disclosure is requested or consented to by the employee, ordered by a court or administrative agency, or otherwise required by applicable federal or state law.

†††† (f)† As used in this section, the terms "domestic or sexual violence", "stalking", and "victim services organization" shall have the same meaning as in section 378‑71."

†††† SECTION 3.† Section 383-65, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

†††† "(b)† Benefits paid to an individual shall not be charged against the account of any of the individual's base period employers on a contributory plan under section 383-61 when such benefits are:

†††† (1)† Paid to an individual during any benefit year if the individual:

†††††††† (A)† Left work voluntarily without good cause; or

†††††††† (B)† Was discharged for misconduct connected with the individual's work; or

†††††††† (C)† Left work voluntarily for good cause not attributable to the employer.

††††††††† The chargeability of benefits to an employer's account shall be determined in accordance with section 383-94 and other applicable provisions of this chapter, or as may be otherwise specified by the department;

†††† (2)† Paid to an individual, who, during the individual's base period, earned wages for part-time employment with an employer, if the employer continues to give the individual employment to the same extent while the individual is receiving benefits as during the base period and the employer establishes such fact to the satisfaction of the director of labor and industrial relations;

†††† (3)† Paid to an individual for the period the individual is enrolled in and is in regular attendance at a vocational training or retraining course approved by the director pursuant to section 383-29;

†††† (4)† Paid to an individual under the extended benefits program, sections 383-168 to 383-174; except that one‑half of the amount of such benefits which are based on services performed for a governmental employer on a contributory plan shall be charged to the account of such employer;

†††† (5)† Paid to an individual who qualifies to receive benefits by meeting the minimum earnings and employment requirements only by combining the individual's employment and wages earned in two or more states;

†††† (6)† Benefits overpaid to a claimant as a result of ineligibility or disqualification under sections 383‑29 and 383-30 unless such overpayment resulted from the employer's failure to furnish information as required by this chapter or the rules of the department; [or]

†††† (7)† Benefits paid to an individual during any benefit year beginning September 13, l992 and thereafter shall not be charged to the account of any base period employer from whose employment the individual is separated as a direct result of a major disaster and would have been entitled to disaster unemployment assistance under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 100-707) but for the receipt of unemployment insurance benefits paid under this chapter; provided that the employer must petition for relief of any charges to an employer's reserve account as requested by the department and the director approves granting relief of charges[.];

†††† (8)Paid to an individual when the employer discharges the individual due to the individualís actions, including absences from work, where the individual's actions were reasonably necessary to protect the individual or the individual's minor child from domestic or sexual violence; or

†††† (9)Paid to an individual when the employer discharges the individual due to circumstances resulting from the individual's being a victim of domestic or sexual violence."

†††† SECTION 4.† Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.† New statutory material is underscored.

†††† SECTION 5.† This Act shall take effect upon its approval.