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25th Jan 2022

Domestic abuse victims could receive paid leave with new Bill

Ellen Fitzpatrick

The bill is going through the Government.

The equality committee is set to discuss a Bill that would introduce paid work leave for those who are victims of domestic violence.

The legislation has been put forward by Sinn Fein’s Louise O’Reilly and would allow domestic violence survivors ten days paid leave from work.

The Organisation of Working Time (Domestic Violence Leave) Bill is expected to go before the equality committee on Tuesday.

O’Reilly is Sinn Fein’s spokeswoman on workers’ rights and has said that the legislation was created after speaking with people working in this sector as well as victims.

“This piece of legislation is important because domestic violence is not just an equality issue,” O’Reilly told The Irish Mirror.

“It is a societal issue, but it is also a workers’ rights issue and we believe that an amendment to the Organisation of Working Time Act is the most appropriate way because that puts this leave with other statutory leave.

“We see NUI Galway have introduced it, Vodafone have introduced it, Danske Bank have introduced it, and we know that the other universities are talking about bringing in paid leave for domestic violence this year.”

Adding that this legislation “cannot wait any longer” and “enough is enough”, plans for the Government to introduce paid domestic violence leave is to come before the Cabinet next month, but could be longer before legislation is complete.

Women’s Aid has added in a statement that paid leave allows for “vital support” for survivors, saying: “This is something that we have been calling for over many years,” a spokeswoman for Women’s Aid said in a statement.

“Financial independence from their perpetrator is essential for women experiencing domestic abuse and employment is a key element of financial independence.

“Women’s Aid believes that paid domestic violence leave, as part of a comprehensive package of workplace measures, can play an important role in supporting abused women to remain in employment and therefore expanding their agency and choices.”

If you have been affected by the details of this article, you can contact Women’s Aid‘s 24hr National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900.