Full Pay for Domestic Violence Leave
10th August 2023
The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, has recently announced that victims of domestic violence will receive their full pay if they need to take domestic violence leave.
Domestic violence leave will be formally introduced in the autumn with the publication of regulations setting out the rate of pay and guidance for employers, currently being developed by Women’s Aid. The new form of leave was introduced as part of the Work Life Balance Act, passed earlier this year.
Speaking on the announcement, Minister O’Gorman said:
“Domestic violence leave gives a victim of domestic violence the chance to access support without impacting on their employment and income.
It is important that they can take the leave without worrying about losing income or being put at more risk. Ensuring that they can receive their full pay will go a long way to help with this.”
The decision on the rate of pay was reached following consultation with employers’ representatives, trade unions and domestic violence support organisations. The requirement to consult with domestic violence support organisations on the rate of pay was added to the legislation at Report Stage by Minister O’Gorman to ensure that those who work most closely with victims of domestic violence would have the opportunity to contribute their views to the process.
Minister O’Gorman went on to say: “The decision on the rate of pay was taken following consultations with a range of bodies, and their views are reflected in this decision. Any issues raised in the consultations regarding the leave will be taken into account in the review of the provisions.’
Women’s Aid, a national organisation working to address and prevent the impacts of domestic violence, warmly welcomed the government announcement that victims/survivors of domestic violence will receive their full pay if they need to take domestic violence leave.
This development comes after many years awaiting the law and a very significant consultation.
Sarah Benson, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said: “Women’s Aid commends the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., for ensuring that Domestic Violence Leave can be taken at the employee’s full rate of pay. Women’s Aid engaged with every stage of the consultation process, with the last engagement once again advocating for full pay.”
The provision of Domestic Violence Leave provides a safe means to access crucial services that can support victims on their difficult journey when a controlling abuser thinks they are at work thereby providing ‘cover’.
It is a pivotal tool to offer support, to raise awareness in every workplace and further reduce the stigma that persists towards those subjected to domestic abuse.
Sarah added: “In many cases, Domestic Violence Leave may be taken by women who are in the process of questioning the relationship or leaving an abuser. Separation is not only a very dangerous time, but also an expensive time. Women face additional and significant expenses ranging including incurring legal expenses; costs of alternative accommodation for themselves and their children and managing a household on a single income. It is a period where every available euro really counts.”
Five days Domestic Violence Leave over 12 months will be available to employees subjected to abuse which offers crucial time off to access legal advice, find alternative accommodation, and access specialist support and other services to manage the dangerous situation they are in.
Women’s Aid has been commissioned by the Government to develop tools for employers supporting employees experiencing domestic violence that will be available when the domestic violence leave comes into effect.
The statutory entitlement to Domestic Violence leave will come into effect in Autumn when this section of the Work Life Balance Act (section 7) commences.
Women’s Aid have been contracted by DECDIY to provide support to employers with a template policy and guidelines to effectively implement it.
Sarah concluded: “Women’s Aid have extensive experience collaborating with employers on the successful implementation of domestic violence workplace policies, and we are delighted to support the DCEDIY with this important work.
“Domestic violence policies and guidelines for workplaces are a real ‘win, win’ for employees and employers alike: increasing staff wellbeing, supporting staff retention and also reducing the stigma of an issue that causes serious harm in Irish society.
We are busy in preparation for the commencement of this legislation and will be engaging with key stakeholders before dissemination of template policies and guidelines to assist employers of all sizes to help create a zero tolerance towards Domestic Abuse in every workplace in the country.”
•Women’s Aid 24 hour National Freephone helpline 1800 341 900 www.womensaid.ie
•National Male Advice Line 1800 816 588 https://mensnetwork.ie/mal/