New Zealand Law Society - Domestic Violence Victim Protection bill passes

Domestic Violence Victim Protection bill passes

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Parliament has given a third reading to the Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill.

This will come into effect on 1 April 2019 and enables victims of domestic violence to request a short-term (two months or shorter) variation of their working arrangments for the purpose of dealing with the effects of being subjected to domestic violence.

The purpose of the private member's bill - which was introduced by Green Party MP Jan Logie - is to enhance the legal protection in the workplace for persons affected by domestic violence. It aims to support victims to stay in paid employment, which is a critical step to limiting the effects of domestic violence. 

The new law amends the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holidays Act 2003, and the Human Rights Act 1993.

Subpart 5 of the bill introduces "domestic violence leave". This is available to a person affected by domestic violence - someone against whom any other person is inflicting, or has inflicted, domestic violence, and/or a person with whom there ordinarily or periodically resides a child against whom any other person is inflicting, or has inflicted, domestic violence.

Entitlement to domestic violence leave arises after six months' current continuous employment with one employer or if the employee has worked at least an average of 10 hours per week over the past six months and no less than one hour in each week in that period or at least 40 hours in each month.

There is a notification requirement and the employer may require proof that the employee is affected by domestic violence. An employee may take up to 10 days' domestic violence leave in a 12-month period of employment.

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