Women’s Aid welcomes full pay for Domestic Violence Leave

Tuesday 8th August 2023: Women’s Aid, a national organisation working to address and prevent the impacts of domestic violence, today warmly welcomes 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, says:

“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.

Ms Benson adds:

“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.

Ms Benson concludes: 

“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.”

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For further information contact Christina Sherlock on 087 919 2457 or by email to christina.sherlock@womensaid.ie. 

Notes for editors and producers:

  • Women’s Aid is a national, feminist organisation working to prevent and address the impact of domestic violence and abuse since 1974.
  • One in four women in Ireland who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner.
  • More than 1 in 3 (37%) working people surveyed across multiple industries and at varying levels of seniority have experienced domestic abuse. (Vodafone Foundation, 2019)
  • Almost all (94%) employees who are subjected to abuse report an impact on their work performance. (Vodafone Foundation, 2021)
  • Many women are prevented from working, forced to work part-time or take sick leave, or become ill, stressed, or lose confidence as a result of the abuse they are subjected to. Some will ultimately cease working. (Safe Ireland and NUIG, 2021)