From 1 April 2019, people who are affected by domestic violence have new legal protections in the workplace.
Employees who are affected by domestic violence now have the right to:
- take at least 10 days of paid domestic violence leave each year – this is separate from annual leave, sick leave and bereavement leave
- ask for short-term flexible working arrangements – lasting up to 2 months
- not be treated adversely in the workplace because they might have experienced domestic violence.
It does not matter when the domestic violence took place.
These rights do not apply to people who carry out domestic violence. In other words, people who are violent or abusive to someone they’re in a family or domestic relationship with.
Domestic violence is also known as family violence, and it’s not just physical violence. It can take many forms.
Employment New Zealand has worked with partners across government and with the Human Rights Commission and Shine to develop information to help employers apply the law changes. Following the law will also help employers improve how workplaces deal with family violence.
Information about new rights for employees affected by domestic violence is on the Employment New Zealand website. It is also being sent directly to employer representative groups and community advice groups, GPs and hospitals as well as to family violence support services, such as Shine and Women’s Refuge.
A Family Violence Policy Builder (external link) provides support for employers to develop fit-for-purpose policies that support workplace responses to family violence.
In addition to the Workplace Policy Builder and information about the Act, community organisations such as Women’s Refuge and Shine are providing training for workplaces on how to ensure safe and appropriate responses to employees affected by violence.