Domestic violence bill passes

Green Party MP Jan Logie’s member’s Domestic Violence Victims Protection Bill passed in Parliament yesterday, with Greens, Labour and NZ First voting in favour and National and ACT voting against.

RNZ:  Domestic violence paid leave bill passes in Parliament

Parliament has passed legislation which will provide victims of domestic violence with 10 days of paid leave a year.

Ms Logie said the bill’s passing was a win for victims, employers, and society as a whole.

She said everyone should be able to live free from violence, but too many people found it impossible to keep their jobs while trying to move house, attend court dates, and settle their children at a new school.

“This offers them a pathway to safety, it lets them know that as a country we’ve all got their back.

“That this isn’t just about government, this is about every single one of us doing what we can to support them to be safe.”

The new law will come into force on 1 April, 2019.

I have mixed feelings about this.

It’s important that there are better ways of addressing the serious problem of domestic abuse, but I’m not sure that another specific leave type be made available.

From 1 April 2019 when this bill comes into force these leave types will be available:

  • Annual leave – minimum 4 weeks
  • Public holidays – 10 days per year

So a minimum of six weeks leave per year. Plus special purpose leave:

  • Sick leave – 5 days per year which can accumulate to 20 days.
  • Bereavement leave:
    – 3 days per death if a spouse or partner, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or spouse or partner’s parent dies
    – 1 day on the death of another person if their employer accepts they’ve had a bereavement, based on how close they were with the deceased person, whether they have to take a lot of the responsibility for all or any of the arrangements for the ceremonies relating to the death, and if they have any cultural responsibilities in relation to the death
  • Domestic violence leave – 2 weeks per year
  • ACC injury – as long as required but the employer is responsible for the first week

Some employees take most or all sick leave available, some take little if any (I take about 1-2 days sick leave every couple of years, so average 1 day per year at the most).

Domestic violence leave should be a one off for most people unfortunate enough to have to deal with it. Id someone had to take the full 2 weeks in a year that would suggest a serious problem, and if it kept recurring year after year it would be both (probably) unusual, and should require some sort of preventative action.

I don’t know how willing victims of domestic violence will be to be open about it to their employers.