Domestic Violence Leave - 1st April 2019
On Monday (1st April 2019) the Domestic Violence Leave - Victims Protection Act come into effect. This is new legislation and introduces a number of obligations on all employers. So what does it mean and how can you get yourself ready?
1. Eligible employees are entitled to 10 days leave per year
2. Criteria for entitlement is the same as sick or bereavement leave (ie worked for you for more than 6 months and for a minimum amount of hours)
3. The leave doesn't accrue and is not eligible for payout on termination
4. Applications can be in relation to dealing with the effects of current or historic domestic violence, it could have occured prior to their employment with you
5. Can be applied for in relation to dealing with the outcomes of violence against children in their care
6. Confidentiality and privacy concerns are important and you need to ensure that only those who must be aware of the reason for the leave are - you can call it alternative leave or some other term on payslips
7. Affected Employees can apply for a short term variation to their working arrangements (for up to 2 months)
8. Need to consider workplace safety for affected employees
9. Persons affected by domestic violence cannot be discriminated against under the Employment Relations and Human Rights Acts
10. We recommend having a clear policy on how requests are going to be dealt with and by whom to ensure everyone is aware of their rights and obligations and to provide important support information to anyone who needs it
The availability of additional leave to someone dealing with the effects of domestic violence may be the difference between them being able to stay in employment and be able to make the necessary changes in their lives or seek the help needed. While this is new legislation for many of you, there has been a number of New Zealand's largest organisations who have had something similar in place for a while, in the case of The Warehouse Group since 2015.
We can provide you with a Domestic Violence Leave policy for your team and update your Employment Agreements to include the new legislation. You will also need to give your current team a variation to their Employment Agreement and we can draft this for you.
If you have any questions about the legislation and what you need to do then please get in touch with us today