Legislative proposals for paid domestic violence leave to be brought forward by end of year

Minster for Children Roderic O’Gorman says development of such leave is ‘personal priority’

Roderic O’Gorman said the initiative would include an examination of domestic violence leave at international level. Photograph: Gareth Chaney

Roderic O’Gorman said the initiative would include an examination of domestic violence leave at international level. Photograph: Gareth Chaney

 

Legislative proposals for the establishment of a statutory entitlement to paid domestic violence leave will be brought forward by the end of 2021, the Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said.

Addressing a seminar organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu)on Friday, he said the development of such leave arrangements for victims of domestic violence was “a personal priority” and that his officials were working to develop such an initiative.

“This will include an examination of domestic violence leave at international level, the identification of best practice (including the gaps in that best practice) and the development of a suitable model for rollout in Ireland.

“It is very important to me to involve all stakeholders in the development of domestic violence leave and I have written to social partners (including Ictu) inviting them to meet virtually later this month to discuss proposals currently being considered relating to domestic violence leave.

“I am seeking the views and advice of employers’ groups regarding the potential impact of such leave and how the proposals could be implemented in a manner that would mitigate any potentially negative impacts on business.“

Sinn Féin spokeswoman on enterprise and employment Louise O’Reilly said a statutory entitlement to 10 days leave in such circumstances would mean that a victim of domestic violence would not be reliant on grace and favour arrangements from their employer.

She said some employers were fantastic and would put in place such arrangements anyway but others would not or could not do so.

“It is important to have that legislation so that people who need to access that paid leave can access that paid leave, because when there is a requirement to go to court, to go to hospital or to engage with staff in other services, if you are someone in the workplace that keeps taking time off, eventually it can affect (chances of ) promotion and you can fade into the background in the workplace and that is not right.”

Ms O’Reilly said domestic violence was a workplace issue and it needed to be recognised as such.

Sinn Féin had previously brought forward private members’ legislation on this issue and Ms O’Reilly said the Oireachtas was united on the need for it to be introduced.

Ictu equality officer David Joyce said economic security provided by such domestic violence leave “helps gives workers who experience domestic violence the stability they need to leave a violent relationship”.

“Paid leave means they have time during the workday to deal with the effects of violence and do the things they need to do to keep themselves and their children safe.”

Mr O’Gorman said the programme for government highlighted that there was “an epidemic” of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence in this country.

“ It is a multifaceted problem that requires all arms of the State to work together to address the issue and support those who are experiencing such violence,” he said.