3.75 Victims Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA)

A.         Purpose

To establish the parameters for employees needing to take leave under Missouri’s Victims Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA).

B.         Policy

The VESSA grants up to two (2) weeks of unpaid leave, in a twelve-month period, to employees who are a victim of domestic or sexual violence. Unpaid leave will also be granted if an employee’s family or household member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence. The total amount of combined unpaid leave available under both VESSA and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act cannot exceed 12 weeks in a twelve-month period. Employees are eligible to take up to two (2) weeks of unpaid leave under VESSA for the following reasons:

  • Seeking medical attention for, or recovering from, physical or psychological injuries caused by domestic or sexual violence to the employee or the employee’s family or household member;
  • Obtaining services from a victim services organization for the employee or the employee’s family or household member;
  • Obtaining psychological or other counseling for the employee or the employee’s family or household member;
  • Participating in safety planning, temporarily or permanently relocating, or taking other actions to increase the safety of the employee or the employee’s family or household member from future domestic or sexual violence or the ensure economic security; or
  • Seeking legal assistance or remedies to ensure the health and safety of the employee or the employee’s family or household member, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or derived from domestic or sexual violence.

VESSA allows employees to request leave that may be taken on an intermittent basis, or the employee may work a part-time or reduced schedule. Each request will be considered by the Human Resources department on a case-by-case basis.

C.         Procedures

Notice Requirements

An employee requesting leave under VESSA must provide at least 48-hours’ advance notice of the employee’s intention to take leave. If providing such notice is not practicable, an employee must notify their supervisor and Human Resources within a reasonable period of time. When an unscheduled absence occurs, the college will not take action against the employee if the employee provides certification, as described below, within a reasonable period after the absence.

Forms & Certification

An employee requesting leave under VESSA will be required to provide a certification consisting of a sworn statement that the employee or the employee’s family or household member is a victim of domestic or sexual violence and that the leave is for one of the purposes stated above. An employee can satisfy the certification requirement by providing to Human Resources a sworn statement and one of the following:

  • Documentation from an employee, agent, or volunteer of a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, or a medical or other professional from whom the employee or the employee’s family or household member has sought assistance in addressing domestic violence or sexual violence and the effect of such violence;
  • A police or court record; or
  • Other corroborating evidence.

The college has a VESSA leave request form which will be provided to an employee for completion.

Requests for Reasonable Accommodation

The college will make reasonable safety accommodations in a timely matter, unless doing so will result in an undue hardship, to the known limitations resulting from circumstances relating to being a victim of domestic or sexual violence or a family or household member being a victim of domestic or sexual violence.

Reasonable safety accommodations could be an adjustment to a job structure, workplace facility, or work requirement, including a transfer, reassignment, modified schedule, leave, a changed telephone number or seating assignment, installation of a lock, implementation of a safety procedure, or assistance in documenting domestic violence that occurs at the workplace or in work-related settings, in response to actual or threatened domestic violence.

Pay and Leave

If it is determined the leave time requested by an employee qualifies under VESSA, employees may use accrued sick and vacation hours. When all paid leave has been used, the remainder of VESSA leave is unpaid. Employees who are on unpaid VESSA leave on a day that is a recognized college holiday or on other closure days announced throughout the year will not be paid for that holiday/closures.


While on VESSA leave the employee’s health care benefits will continue as if the employee is actively employed (i.e., the college will pay up to 100% of the full-time employee premium and the employee will pay 100% of the monthly premium for dependent coverages) up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Payment of dependent insurance coverage premiums must be made by the 26th day of the month previous to the month to be covered. Failure to pay insurance premiums by the due date could result in loss of coverage.

Benefit accrual such as vacation or sick leave will be suspended during an unpaid leave and/or absence exceeding 80 hours in a calendar month.

Job Restoration

Upon return from VESSA leave, employees will be returned to the same or an equivalent position. Employees who do not return to work at the end of an authorized leave will be considered to have voluntarily resigned and their employment will end.

Non-Discrimination and Anti-Retaliation

The college will not use any protected leave as a negative factor in any employment decision or discharge, discriminate, or otherwise retaliate against any employee because of that employee’s use of VESSA leave, opposition of any practice made unlawful by VESSA, or involvement in any proceeding under or relating to VESSA. In addition, the college will not illegally interfere with, restrain, or deny any employee’s right to exercise their VESSA rights. Employees who believe the college has interfered with their rights or otherwise discriminated against them in violation of VESSA should report the issue to their supervisor or Human Resources.

Amount of Leave

Under VESSA, the amount of unpaid leave available to the employee cannot exceed the amount of unpaid leave time allowed under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If an employee has exhausted ten or more weeks of their family and medical leave entitlement in the prior twelve-month period, they will only be eligible for unpaid VESSA leave up to the remaining amount of days of FMLA, not to exceed two (2) weeks. Unpaid leave under VESSA will not be provided if the employee has already used all leave allowed under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act within the prior twelve (12) months.

D.         Definitions

Household members are defined as a spouse, parent, son, or daughter, persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, other person who shares a relationship through a son or daughter, and persons jointly residing in the same household.

Undue hardship is defined as significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of the nature and cost of the reasonable safety accommodation.

Pursuant to this policy, domestic violence is abuse or stalking committed by a family or household member.

Sexual violence is causing or attempting to cause another to engage involuntarily in any sexual act by force, threat of force, duress, or without that person’s consent and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

E. Authority

This policy and these procedures are maintained under the authority of chief human resources officer.

F. Related Policies

3.01 Anti-Harassment and Anti-Discrimination

3.66 Sick Leave and Usage

3.67 Vacation Leave and Usage

3.70 Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

3.73 Holidays

4.06 Sexual Harassment and Grievance Procedures

G. Implementation

Policy approved and adopted by the Board of Trustees on 03/07/22.

Purpose, Procedures, Definitions and Authority approved and adopted by the Chancellor’s Cabinet on 02/24/22.

Set for review in fiscal year 2025-2026.