The Domestic Violence — Victims’ Protection Act 2018, which was passed into law last July, comes into effect on 1 April 2019. This new law introduces paid leave for employees affected by domestic violence, so that they can deal with its effects.
Under the new law, an employee who’s been subjected to domestic violence can request paid leave from their employer — up to 10 days per year. This leave is separate from annual, sick, and bereavement leave.
The new law also allows employees to request short-term flexible working arrangements as they recover from domestic violence. This applies even if the domestic violence occurred before a person became an employee, as the effects of violence can be long lasting.
The new Act aims to support victims of domestic violence to stay in paid employment, which is seen as a critical step to limiting the effects of this violence.
The Act also aims to improve legal protection in the workplace for people who have been subjected to domestic violence. This extra protection ensures victims aren’t disadvantaged because of what’s happened to them.
Having safe and supported employees is good for business. Creating a supportive work environment can help improve productivity and employee morale.
Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo — Equal Employment Opportunities and Women’s Rights Commissioner
Domestic violence includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse (such as intimidation, harassment, damage to property, threats of abuse, and financial or economic abuse). It includes abuse by a partner, another family member, or an ex. It can affect people of any gender, age, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
A person affected by domestic violence is one or both of the following:
“Violence against women is one of New Zealand's leading human rights issues,” says Saunoamaali’i Dr Karanina Sumeo, Equal Employment Opportunities and Women’s Rights Commissioner. “We will realise true dignity as a nation when the violation of our girls and women ends.”
Discrimination against employees or job applicants who are survivors of domestic violence is also considered a human rights issue.
Visit the Workplace Policy Builder to design a policy that complies with the new Act.
Visit employment.govt.nz (external link) or call Employment New Zealand toll free on 0800 20 90 20.