Domestic violence leave rights and responsibilities

Employers must give at least 10 days of paid domestic violence leave each year to employees who qualify.

Employees get the right to at least 10 days of paid domestic violence leave each year as long as they still qualify. It does not matter when the domestic violence took place. You can also take this kind of leave to support a child who has experienced domestic violence, as long as they live with you some of the time.

Who can get domestic violence leave

Our guide on domestic violence leave is available in a range of languages

More than the minimum

An employer can decide to:

  • offer more than the minimum 10 days of paid domestic violence leave
  • let an employee take annual leave, unpaid leave or domestic violence leave in advance when they have used all their paid domestic violence leave.

Whether an employer decides to offer more than the minimum or only the 10 days of paid leave, they must record all arrangements in writing.

Domestic violence leave and annual leave

Employees who have worked for their employer for fewer than 6 months do not have the right to take domestic violence leave. Employer and employee can agree the employee can take domestic violence leave in advance.

If an employee qualifies for domestic violence leave and needs it while they are on annual leave, they can take domestic violence leave instead of annual leave. They should tell their employer as soon as they can.

Unused domestic violence leave

If an employee does not use their domestic violence leave in 12 months, they can’t carry it over to the next year. If they stop working for their employer, their employer does not have to pay them for any domestic violence leave they have not taken.

Pay rate for domestic violence leave

An employer must pay employees who take domestic violence leave.

They must pay an employee their ‘relevant daily pay’ or ‘average daily pay’ for each day of domestic violence leave they take on a day they usually work – an ‘otherwise working day’.

Relevant daily pay and average daily pay

Otherwise working days

An employer does not have to pay an employee for any time they get weekly payments through the Accident Compensation Act 2001 or former ACC Act.

Taking domestic violence leave

On or before the day they are meant to work or as early as they can, employees must tell their employer they want to take domestic violence leave.

The employer can ask for proof that the employee is affected by domestic violence. The employer does not need to pay the employee until they get this proof, unless the employee has a ‘reasonable excuse’. An example of a ‘reasonable excuse’ could be that the employee had to move home quickly and has not had time to get proof.

Proof of domestic violence 

Problems with domestic violence leave

An employee should first talk to their employer if they have:

  • been refused domestic violence leave
  • problems getting paid for their domestic violence leave.

If they and their employer cannot resolve the problem, they can try other ways of dealing with it.

Problems getting domestic violence rights 

Short-term flexible working arrangements

Employees affected by domestic violence also have the right to ask for short-term flexible working arrangements lasting up to 2 months.

Short-term flexible working 

Page last revised: 01 April 2019

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