The Domestic Violence - Victims Protection Bill has passed its third reading in Parliament. It aims to enhance legal protections in the workplace for people affected by domestic violence.
The changes will come into effect on 1 April 2019.
The new law entitles employees affected by domestic violence to up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave per year, in order to deal with the effects of domestic violence. Employees will be able to take this leave as needed – similar to the existing sick leave and bereavement leave provisions.
They will also be able to request a short-term variation to their working arrangements (up to two months or shorter) to which the employer must respond to urgently and within 10 working days. The variation can include changes to hours of work, location and duties of work. This is similar, and in addition to, the existing rights employees have to make a flexible working request.
The law also explicitly prohibits an employee being treated adversely in their employment on the grounds that they are, or are suspected to be, a person affected by domestic violence.
Employees will be able to raise a dispute if they believe that their employer unreasonably refused a request made under the new provisions, and must do so within six months.
We will provide further advice in the run-up to the law’s commencement date.