In a huge step forward, New Zealand have introduced legislation which will allow survivors of domestic abuse ten days paid leave.
These ten days are intended to give the survivor time to leave their partners, ensure their children’s protection ,and find new places to live. This leave will be on top of standard holiday and sick leave entitlements.
The bill was passed with 63 votes to 57, thanks to seven years of work from women’s refuge worker-turned politician, Jan Logie, and will come into play from April 2019.
Victims of domestic violence will now be entitled to 10 days of paid leave from the workplace – the Bill just passed in NZ Parliament
— Anna B-W (@Anna_bw) July 25, 2018
As the bill was passed, clapping and cheering could be heard from MPs who were in favour, while Green MP Logie had tears in her eyes.
As well as the leave, survivors will be given fast-tracked flexible working conditions to further protect their safety.
This may include moving their work location, changing their email address, and having their contact information removed from their company’s website.
Logie made the following comments on this ‘huge win,’ reports The Guardian:
Part of this initiative is getting a whole-of-society response. We don’t just leave it to police but realise we all have a role in helping victims.
It is also about changing the cultural norms and saying ‘we all have a stake in this and it is not OK.
Domestic violence doesn’t respect that split between work and life. A huge amount of research tells us a large number of abusive partners bring the violence into the workplace,
Be that by stalking their partner, by constant emails or phone calls or threatening them or their workmates. And some of that is about trying to break their attachment to their job to get them fired or get them to quit so they are more dependent on their partner. It is very common.
After the Philippines, New Zealand is the first country to introduce such a bill. The country currently has one of the highest rates of domestic violence on the planet, with police officers responding to an incident every four minutes.
Shockingly, the rate of family homicides is over twice that of Australia, Canada and Britain, per capita.
Manager of domestic violence charity Shine, Holly Carrington, told Newshub:
It can make an enormous difference for the very small number of victims who need to take advantage of the provision.
What this Bill does is ensures a basic level of support from all employers across the board, which is just fantastic.
— Gareth Hughes (@GarethMP) July 25, 2018
However, some people are opposed to the bill; arguing it will be detrimental to businesses as well as the job prospects of individuals.
National Party justice spokesperson, Mark Mitchell, opposed the bill, telling Newshub:
Ultimately, employers will start to filter and start to look at whether or not they want to hire someone that may present a risk around domestic violence because ultimately it could impact on their business.
— Marja Lubeck (@MarjaLubeck) July 25, 2018
Well done to New Zealand for giving domestic violence survivors to chance to change their circumstances. If only we saw this sort of caring, forward thinking legislation in other countries.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. Do not suffer in silence.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.