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Paid leave for domestic violence survivors essential

Justice Minister Amy Adams will announce her response to the Strengthening New Zealand’s Legislative Response to Family Violence report at midday today, and working people are calling for better support systems at work for survivors of violence.

“Everyone should be free to live, safe from the threat of violence. But right now too many people are experiencing violence from the people closest to them,” CTU Secretary Sam Huggard said.

“A very practical way survivors of domestic violence could be supported is through the provision of paid leave from work.”

“Staying in employment may be one of the last remaining places where a person in a domestic violence situation can experience some normality, safety and support.”

“One very practical measure to support survivors of domestic violence is a right in employment law to paid leave. This issue was raised by submitters to the Ministry of Justice discussion document as one of the ways to reduce barriers faced by women and children.”

“There is growing support in Australia for domestic violence leave provisions in Australian employment agreements, and New Zealand should follow suit.”

“New Zealand union members and their organisations have promoted a provision which would provide up to 10 days of paid leave in any calendar year for those experiencing family violence to be used for medical appointments, legal proceedings and other activities related to family violence. This is starting to appear in collective agreements, but for working people without access to collective organisation in union, then there needs to be a minimum statutory right also.”

The Council of Trade Unions had raised this issue with both the Justice and Workplace Relations ministers in recent months and would be watching the government’s response closely today, Sam Huggard said.