Domestic Violence Bill could cost the Employer
5 July 2018
Green's Domestic Violence - Victim’s Protection Bill 2016 is coming up for a third Parliamentary reading.
The aim of this Bill is to amend the Domestic Violence Act 1995, Employment Relations Act 2000, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, Holidays Act 2003, and Human Rights Act 1993 to enhance legal protections for victims of domestic violence.
The Bill supports victims to stay in paid employment and addresses any discrimination by amending the definitions and circumstances of forms of workplace violence, such as bullying or violence from customers or client.
As it stands, the Bill requires Employers to give victims who claim it an extra 10 days leave per year in a similar way as sick leave works. The National Party have since withdrawn their support.
Employment Relations Act 2000
The Bill provides that employees who are victims of domestic violence may request a variation of their working arrangements. The employer must answer the request as soon as possible and no later than 3 months after receiving it. The Bill also provides that the employer may refuse a request only if it cannot be accommodated on certain grounds (such as 'an inability to reorganise work among existing staff,' 'the potential for a detrimental impact on quality' and 'the burden of additional costs'). The Bill provides for mediation by a Labour Inspector if there is a relevant dispute between the employee and the employer. If that process fails, the employee may refer the matter to the Employment Relations Authority.
Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
Hazard of a worker suffering domestic abuse
The Bill replaces the definition of hazard so that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must, in taking all practicable steps to ensure that workers are not exposed to hazards, including the hazard of a worker suffering domestic violence. The Bill also provides that PCBUs must have policies on handling situations arising from the hazard of a worker suffering domestic violence and they are required to take all practicable steps to ensure that health and safety representatives receive training in supporting workers who are victims of domestic violence.
Holidays Act 2003
Paid leave for victims of domestic abuse
The Bill provides that a victim of domestic violence has a minimum entitlement to 10 day’s paid leave (as if it were sick or bereavement leave) for the purpose of dealing with the effects of being a victim of domestic violence within a year of the employer’s approval being granted.
Human Rights Act 1993
Prohibited ground of discrimination to include being a victim of domestic violence
The Bill provides for an additional prohibited ground of discrimination, that of 'being a victim of domestic violence'.
(Source: Employers Assistance Ltd, received from www.employers.co.nz)