Maighread Ni Mhaonghail
The Irish government has taken a significant step towards supporting victims of domestic violence by introducing a new form of leave for affected employees. The domestic violence leave, scheduled to be implemented soon, aims to provide victims with the necessary support without worrying about losing their income.
The Work-Life Balance Act, enacted earlier this year, includes this new form of leave. Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman has emphasised the importance of empowering victims to seek help without putting themselves at risk or losing their income.
Domestic Violence Leave will be Paid at the Full Rate of the Person’s Salary
Irish employees who are victims of domestic violence will soon be able to take advantage of a new initiative offering them five days of leave on full pay. This is a progressive move, making Ireland one of the first European countries to provide paid leave for those affected by domestic violence. The decision to provide 100% pay was made after consulting trade unions, employer groups and organisations supporting victims of domestic violence. Unlike the rate of sick pay, which is 70%, domestic violence leave will be paid at the full rate of the person’s salary.
To make it as accessible as possible, the claimant only needs to notify their employer and will not be required to provide any evidence—Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman stated, “One of the other things we’re doing is working with Women’s Aid. We’ve commissioned a range of policy support for employers because when we were doing the area consultations on this legislation, employers flagged nervousness about the information they would be learning about their employees.
“So, we’re putting in place a range of policy supports for employers so they can understand how to deal with a situation where an employee seeks this leave, or they deal with a wider situation where they become aware that the employee is a victim of domestic violence.”
If an employer does not agree to leave, the employee can seek support from the Workplace Relations Commission.
The effectiveness of the new leave will be reviewed after two years, with the possibility of extending the time it can be taken. The Green Party and the government have prioritised this legislation to provide an essential step towards creating a safe and supportive working environment for all employees, regardless of their personal circumstances.
Resources and Supports
If you know or suspect someone is a domestic violence victim, you may wonder how best to help. Reaching out to let someone know you are there can often provide tremendous relief. A few supportive words can often help change a life.
For more resources, see the Women’s Aid Helpline Database.