Posted on: Aug 03, 2018

3 August 2018: New Zealand has become the first country in the world to create new entitlements for domestic violence victims in their workplace, including a right to take up to 10 days of paid leave per year.

On Wednesday the 25 July 2018, the Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Bill spearheaded by Green MP Jan Logie passed its third reading in Parliament, and is set to come into force on 1 April 2019.

This is a rare piece of legislation where a private issue is brought into the workplace, requiring employers to assist employees’ address family violence in their personal lives.

What will be the effect of the new legislation?

The legislation will make changes to three separate Acts to increase protection for victims of domestic violence. This includes the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holidays Act 2003 and the Human Rights Act 1993.

The key amendments include:

  1. Requiring employers to give favourable consideration to short-term flexible working arrangements for employees who are victims of domestic violence;
  2. A requirement not to treat employees who are victims of domestic violence adversely under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993; and
  3. Introducing up to 10 days paid domestic violence leave per year under the Holidays Act 2003.

The purpose of these amendments is to reduce  barriers preventing victims of domestic violence from keeping stable employment at a time they need it most.

What does this mean for your organisation?

  1. Employers should consider updating existing flexible working arrangement policies and making changes within the organisation to ensure victims of domestic violence are not treated adversely.
  2. Employers need to prepare to carry an extra 10 days leave per employee each year and understand how this is to apply from 1 April 2019; and
  3. Employers should also consider training or workshops to understand the new rights and obligations created by the new legislation for both employers and employees, including:
    • Employees right to seek assistance from their employer;
    • How much assistance an employer must provide;
    • Timeframes for responding to requests for assistance;
    • The requirement for evidence.

If you would like further information on how these changes may affect you or your business, our team would be happy to assist. Contact us on 09 273 8590



Disclaimer

This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.