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File for unpaid leave because of domestic violence or sexual assault

In Philadelphia, all employees can use unpaid leave to address issues related to domestic violence or sexual assault. They can use the leave to seek medical attention, legal assistance, social services, or other help for themselves, a family member, or a household member.

Employees may be eligible for 4-8 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period depending on the size of their employer. Leave, when added to any Family Medical Leave (FMLA), cannot exceed more than 12 weeks in a 12-month period.

If an employer refuses to provide leave or retaliates against employees for using leave, an employee can make a formal complaint to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.


Philadelphia guarantees unpaid leave for anyone who is:

  • Experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • Helping a family or household member who is experiencing one of these issues.

Where and when

Employees must make a complaint within 300 days of the date they were denied leave or retaliated against. It may take several months or longer to investigate the complaint.

You can make a formal complaint in-person or by mail at:

Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
601 Walnut St., Suite 300 South
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Work Phone:


There is no fee.


Filing for unpaid leave with an employer:

  1. Tell your employer with at least 48-hours’ notice of the leave, if possible.
  2. Your employer may require you to provide documentation showing the reason for your leave. For example, your employer may require:
    • A police record.
    • A court record.
    • A letter from an organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, or a medical or other professional.