Domestic violence is also known as family violence. It means all forms of violence in family and intimate relationships. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual or psychological abuse.
The Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act adds legal protections in the workplace for people affected by domestic violence.
Rights for employees
The Act gives employees affected by domestic violence the right to:
- take up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave (employers can give more than the 10 days required by law). This is separate from annual leave, sick leave and bereavement leave. See Domestic violence leave rights and responsibilities.
- ask for short-term flexible working arrangements. This can be for up to 2 months. See Short-term flexible working.
- not be treated adversely in the workplace because they might have experienced domestic violence. This is discrimination. See Resolving problems with domestic violence rights.
It does not matter when the domestic violence took place. Employees still have these rights if they experienced domestic violence before they began working for their current employer or before the law changed on 1 April 2019.
Employees who have been affected by domestic violence can take paid domestic violence leave if:
- they have six months’ current continuous employment with the same employer, or
- they have worked for the employer for six months for:
- an average of 10 hours per week, and
- at least one hour in every week or 40 hours in every month.
Domestic violence leave rights and responsibilities
Employers must give at least 10 days of paid domestic violence leave each year to employees who qualify.
Short-term flexible working
Employees who are affected by domestic violence can ask for flexible working arrangements for up to 2 months.
Proof of domestic violence
If an employee takes domestic violence leave or asks for short-term flexible working arrangements, their employer can ask for proof.
Problems getting domestic violence rights
Employees can go to Employment New Zealand or the Human Rights Commission if they have problems getting their domestic violence rights.
Workplace policies and penalties
Employers should have policies that make a workplace supportive for employees affected by domestic violence. There are penalties for employers that break employment law.
Tools and Resources
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Domestic Violence Victims' Protection Act Factsheet - PDF 611KB
Factsheet outlining the new domestic violence rights and responsibilities in the workplace.
Rights for employees affected by domestic violence - PDF 1.1MB
The Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act gives people affected by domestic violence more legal protections at work