PA. SENATE Bill would allow crime victims time off work for court

Crime victims would be entitled to unpaid leave to attend court hearings.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County District Attorney Matt Mangino helped draft proposed legislation that will give crime victims time off from work to attend court proceedings.
The Crime Victims Leave Act was introduced this week into the Pennsylvania Senate by Allyson Schwartz and Stewart Greenleaf, two senators from eastern Pennsylvania.
Mangino said he's confident the bill will swiftly move through the Legislature. A total of 30 senators, both Republicans and Democrats, have co-sponsored it, he said.
The bill must also be approved by the state House of Representatives and the governor before it becomes a law.
Mangino said he helped craft the Victim's Leave Act to ensure that crime victims are not penalized for attending court hearings.
"It permits a crime victim who may not be a witness to have the opportunity to attend all proceedings," he said.
What happens: Currently some may have to use vacation or sick days to leave work to attend hearings that can often be postponed and delayed, he said.
He noted that those who must testify are usually given subpoenas, however, there are cases in which a crime victim is not testifying but still wants to attend.
"There's multiple times a victim could attend a hearing and as a result it's almost like a penalty for the crime victim and their family. If they use up all their vacation, that family might miss out on a vacation that year," he said.
The Crime Victim's Leave Act does have some stipulations:
U Companies with fewer than 50 employees do not have to comply.
U The employer is not required to compensate employees who would exercise their right to leave work for hearings.
U Employers must allow an employee to use vacation, personal or sick time in order to attend and be paid while attending court-related proceedings.
U Oblige the employee to give proper notice to the employer and allow for the employer to reject the request if it can be shown that the employee's leaving work would cause undo hardship for the employer.
Mangino said the executive committee of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association agreed to endorse the legislation.