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Posted on: May 27, 2021

Mayor Lee Harris’ Update on the Safe Leave Policy for Shelby County Employees

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Last year my administration enacted a new Shelby County paid parental leave policy for employees whose families welcomed a new addition.

Unfortunately, there are other, less joyous circumstances that arise and force employees to be away from work.

Recently, my administration amended the county’s sick leave policy to include a new “Safe Leave” policy for victims of domestic violence. It allows them to use their sick leave to get help in cases of domestic violence without worrying about putting their jobs in jeopardy. 

Domestic violence happens between husbands and wives, parents and children, partners, and even siblings.

Here locally, law enforcement agencies report that they respond to approximately 20,000 domestic violence cases annually.

And during the coronavirus pandemic, domestic violence here has exploded. Last summer, the Shelby County Crime Commission reported a 21% increase in domestic violence aggravate assaults.

Tennessee ranks 11th in the nation for domestic violence homicides. And all too often, domestic violence, when not addressed, can lead to domestic homicides.

There is no doubt that employees dealing with domestic violence in their lives are sick, sick with fear, sick with grief, sick with worry, sick with anger, and sometimes sick with shame.

Practically, domestic violence brings into a person’s life new problems and issues that have to be dealt with.

They may need to find somewhere new to live, to meet with police, an attorney, or social services providers.

Their children may have to be enrolled in a new school.

We don’t want county employees to have to choose between their jobs and the health and safety of themselves and their families.

From paid paternal leave to Safe Leave, we are committed to making sure that Shelby County Government is a great, inclusive place to work.

Undoubtedly, the Shelby County Commission has done a lot to make that happen. I’d like to thank Commissioner Tami Sawyer for sponsoring this resolution and Commissioners Mark Billingsley, David Bradford, Mickell Lowery, Amber Mills, Reginald Milton, Brandon Morrison, Van Turner, Michael Whaley, Mick Wright and Commission Chairman Eddie Jones for your support of this policy and our great county employees. 


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