New Zealand Becomes The First Nation To Grant 10 Days Paid Leave To Domestic Violence Victims
New Zealand Parliament on Wednesday, July 25 passed legislation that seeks to empower victims of domestic abuse. With the new piece of legislation, domestic violence victims will now be granted ten days of paid leave by their employers which will allow them time to leave their partners and protect themselves and their children.
New Zealand Parliament Passed The Bill
The bill was passed with 63 votes to 57 and is the result of Green MP Jan Logie’s seven-year-long effort, reported The Guardian. Logie has previously worked in a women’s refuge before becoming a politician. Reportedly, Logie described the move as a “world first” after it was passed in the Parliament and said that it was not only a win for the victims but also for the employers. She is part of the progressive coalition government which was elected last year.
Even though at the initial stages, some opposition National MPs showed their support for the private member bill, all of them withdrew their support at the final reading, stating that the law would affect small and medium-sized businesses and might also refrain employers from hiring candidates they might suspect of being victims of domestic violence.
Flexible Work Environment
After this bill, domestic violence victims are not only exempted from showing proof of their circumstances but will also be entitled to flexible work conditions which are aimed at ensuring the safety of those who are affected. Logie said, “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.”
According to The Guardian, Holly Carrington, a spokeswoman for Shine, a charity helping victims of domestic abuse, said: “It sets a solid benchmark for what businesses are legally required to do, and we need to be clear that employers can do this from a perspective of self-interest, because by helping those staff they will be retaining valuable employees and improving productivity.”
This move is being considered as ‘groundbreaking’ by many. According to The Straits Times, official data shows that New Zealand has one of the highest domestic violence rates among developed countries in the world with police responding to domestic violence every four minutes. Additionally, family violence is estimated to cost the nation between NZ$ 4.1 billion and $7 billion annually. Family homicide rates in the country are twice as much as in Canada, Britain and Australia on a per capita basis.
Even though Australia and the Philippines tried to bring in similar legislation in the past; New Zealand has become the first country to introduce a nationwide paid leave.