New Online Support Hub for Employers to Implement Statutory Domestic Violence Leave

27th November 2023

Posted In: Newsflash

Women’s Aid, a leading national organisation working to address and prevent the impacts of domestic violence, has launched a new online support hub for employers to implement Statutory Domestic Violence Leave. Part of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023, the Statutory Domestic Violence leave comes into force today (Monday, November 27th) and includes a new requirement for employers to offer paid leave to those subjected to domestic violence.

This new Statutory Domestic Violence Leave of up to five days, over a period of 12 months, has been designed to help vulnerable people cope with what can be an extremely stressful situation in their lives.  To support Irish employers to implement this leave, was created by Women’s Aid, as contracted by the Department of Children, Equality, Integration, Disability and Youth (DCEIDY).  

This new online hub hosts support materials and services for employers developing domestic violence and abuse policies, including a policy template and guidance note, how to access information sessions and how to access email support services for employers.

Sarah Benson, CEO of Women’s Aid says: “On Monday {Nov. 27th}, Ireland will commence a groundbreaking new provision for Statutory Domestic Violence Leave, one of the first countries in the EU to do so.

Addressing domestic violence as an employer reduces the risk of victim-survivors giving up work, provides increased financial security and shows solidarity and support at a time when they may feel completely isolated and alone.

Statutory domestic violence leave is most effectively implemented when introduced as part of a wider organisational response to domestic violence and abuse, best captured in a workplace domestic abuse policy.”

“Domestic violence and abuse is a workplace issue,” she says. “That might seem like an odd thing to say about something that most consider belonging in the realm of personal relationships, but the reality is that domestic abuse tactics and impacts extend far beyond the home and into all aspects of victim-survivors’ lives. We know that more than 1 in 3 (37%) working people surveyed across multiple industries and at varying levels of seniority have experienced domestic abuse.

Issues of coercive control and economic abuse can be linked directly to work, when we think about the consequences of someone being pressured or coerced to give up employment and their economic freedom by an abusive partner.”

Sarah elaborates: “To reassure employers, addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue is not about taking on the role of a counsellor or support worker. Rather, it is about creating a safe, supportive environment for victim-survivors to disclose what they are experiencing by reducing the stigma surrounding the issue and offering targeted support.  There are simple ways employers can do this through training, awareness-raising, and policy development and integration.”

Roderic O’Gorman T.D., Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, launching the new resources says: “Domestic violence leave should be embedded within a robust workplace response, and all employees must feel comfortable accessing it. My Department has worked with Women’s Aid to develop supports for employers in implementing the leave and in creating a workplace which is a safe space for employees who are or have been victims of domestic violence. It is hoped that these supports will make a meaningful difference to those experiencing domestic violence.”

Sarah Benson adds: “Women’s Aid has already supported a number of employers who are looking for support in introducing domestic abuse policies and training, prior to it becoming a requirement, because they saw the good business sense of supporting and maintaining valued staff when they may be going through a period of trauma which is not their fault. Encouragingly, women are also increasingly reporting to our frontline services that they are no longer suffering the loneliness, pressure, and anxiety of trying to maintain their work in the face of their partners coercion and control, because an informed employer now supports them.

 “We are striving towards an equal Ireland where there is zero tolerance to violence against women, and everyone has a role to play. The workplace has the potential to be a pivotal contributor to achieving this vision,” concludes Sarah.