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Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill has passed.

Published 05 Aug 2018

Domestic Violence Victims' Protection Bill has been passed and will become law on April 1st 2019.

New Zealand has a  problem with domestic violence. Nearly half of all homicides are family related and NZ has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the world. Police report that they respond to incidents of this nature every 5 1/2 mins on average, and it is estimated 80% also go unreported. Family violence is estimated to cost the country between $4.1 billion and $7 billion each year.

This new legislation is aimed at addressing the issue and providing a legislative framework to support the victims through changes to the Human rights Act, the Holidays Act, Health & Safety at Work and the Employment Relations Act. The costs and obligations of this falling squarely at the feet of the Employer.

From April 1 2019 victims of domestic violence will be entitled to 10 days paid (by the Employer) leave per year in addition to their Holidays and sick leave entitlement.

Similar laws in Australia have taken effect at the beginning of April 2018 allowing victims an extra 5 days unpaid leave per year.

By default domestic violence victims will not have to provide proof of their claim to the Employer, and will also be entitled to flexible work conditions designed to ensure their safety. Claims for paid leave under this new legislation may also be for incidents of domestic violence relating to periods prior to the Employee's employment with their current Employer.

Greens celebrating passing of Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill

Given the scale of domestic violence in NZ this will undoubtedly affect a huge proportion of business owners going forward from next year.

We will in due course be updating our Agreements and Policy templates around an Employer's best practice approach for these situations.