Paid leave and flexible working hours for victims of domestic violence

Employers will be required to provide additional support to employees who are affected by domestic violence under the Government’s new legislation – the Domestic Violence – Victims' Protection Act 2018. 

The Act, which affects all employers, includes flexible working hours and 10 days paid leave to employees affected by domestic violence. 

The new legislation will come into force on April 1st 2019 

Here’s what employers need to know: 

Domestic Violence – Victims' Protection Act 2018 

The Domestic Violence – Victims' Protection Act 2018 seeks to provide additional support for victims within the workplace and sees amendments to the Employment Relations Act, Holidays Act and Human Rights Act. 

The following information is not intended as legal advice but for information purposes only. 

How will it affect employers? 

Employers will need to be aware of the changes coming into effect and ensure that their employee agreements and policies are updated to reflect them. 

Amendments to the Employment Relations Act include the following:  

  • Flexible working for people affected by domestic violence: employees or someone on their behalf will be able to request a short-term (2-month or shorter) variation of their working arrangements to allow them to deal with the effects of domestic violence. 
     

  • 10-days turnaround time: Employers must action the request as soon as possible, but no later than 10 working days after receiving a request, and notify the employee of their decision in writing. 
     

  • An employee may make a request at any time, regardless of how long ago the domestic violence occurred, and even if it occurred before the person became an employee. 
     

  • An employee may take up to 10 days’ domestic violence leave in each of the 12-month periods. 
     

  • An employee is entitled to domestic violence leave after they have completed 6 months’ current continuous employment with the employer, or at least an average of 10 hours a week during that period and no less than 1 hour in every week during that period or no less than 40 hours in every month during that period. 
     

  • Employers can also agree that domestic violence leave is taken in advance and the amount of leave is deducted from the employee’s entitled domestic violence leave. 
     

  • An employer must pay an employee an amount that is equivalent to the employee’s relevant daily pay.  
     

  • It also prohibits being a victim of domestic violence as a grounds for discrimination under the Human Rights Act. 
     

What next?  

The Domestic Violence – Victims' Protection Act 2018 comes into force on April 1st 2019 therefore employers need to ensure policies are reviewed and updated before this date. 

Principal Consultant, Viv Patterson advises: “Unlike some of the Bills going through Parliament at the moment, the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act 2018 is now law, therefore, employers will need to ensure that employment policies are updated in line with the legislation before it comes into effect on April 1st, 2019.” 

If you would like further assistance with reviewing and updating your organisation’s policies, please get in touch. 

This guide is not intended as legal advice but is intended to alert you to current topics of interest. For further advice about the Domestic Violence – Victims' Protection Act 2018 and how it affects your organisation please call Viv Patterson on 021 223 2128 or email v.patterson@eqconsultants.co.nz