Victims' Economic Security and Safety Leave (VESSA)

The Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act ("VESSA") provides an employee who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence or who has a family or household member who is a victim of domestic or sexual violence with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any rolling 12-month period to address issues arising from domestic or sexual violence or economic exploitation.

Who is Eligible

All persons paid by the University as employees, faculty or staff, are eligible to take VESSA leave.

Key Features

Reasons for a VESSA leave include:

  • Seeking medical attention for or recovery from physical or psychological injuries to the employee, family or household members
  • Obtaining victim services
  • Obtaining counseling services
  • Participating in safety planning including temporary or permanent relocation or other actions to increase the safety of the victim
  • Seeking legal assistance to ensure the physical and fiscal health and safety of the victim, including participating in court proceedings.

Leave may be taken intermittently, in a block of time or on a reduced work schedule.

An employee may use accrued sick leave, vacation, and personal holiday time when the employee is the victim of physical, psychological or sexual violence.  Vacation and personal holiday time may be used when the victim is a family or household member.

Employees must pay for the employees' share of any insurance benefit premiums if they wish coverage to continue during the leave.  

How to Apply

Employees shall provide at least 48 hours advance notice of the need for leave and complete the VESSA Leave Request Form unless it is not practicable to provide advance notice.  Employees should submit the completed VESSA Leave Request Form and related documents to the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs ( as soon as possible.

In addition to the Request form an employee must provide:

  • Documentation from a victim services organization, attorney,  health care provider or other professional from whom assistance has been sought
  • A police record or
  • Other corroborating written evidence.

The Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs will issue a statement of approved VESSA leave to the employee and department administrator (Human Resource Administrator or Supervisor)

The University will maintain the confidentiality of information relating to a VESSA leave.  

Job Reinstatement

An employee who has taken an approved VESSA leave shall be restored to the same or an equivalent position.  An employee on VESSA leave may be required to report periodically to the supervisor or the Benefits Analyst - Leave Programs regarding the employee's status and intent to return to work.