- December 7, 2023
- Posted by: Suzanne Dennehy
- Category: News
In a landmark move to address the pressing issue of domestic violence and abuse, Ireland has taken a significant step forward with the implementation of Domestic Violence Leave under the Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023. The Act inserts domestic violence leave as a new section 13AA of the Parental Leave Act 1998 as amended. This article written by Karen Tobin, Partner and Aisling Fitzsimons, CKT explores the key aspects of the new Domestic Violence Leave and its implications for both employees and employers.
What is Domestic Violence and Abuse ?
Domestic violence and abuse include violence, or threat of violence, including emotional, physical, sexual, digital, and economic abuse and coercive control. It can affect anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together or dating.
Understanding Domestic Violence Leave:
The Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 2023 introduces Domestic Violence Leave as a dedicated provision aimed at providing support to employees facing domestic violence and abuse.
Key Aspects of this Leave:
- Any employee who is experiencing domestic violence and abuse will be entitled to five days’ fully paid leave within any period of 12 consecutive months.
- Leave will also be applicable where a “relevant person” has experienced or is experiencing domestic violence and abuse. The definition of “relevant person” is set out to include a spouse or civil partner of the employee, a cohabitant, a person with whom the employee is in an intimate relationship, a child of the employee who has not attained full age, or a person who, in relation to the employee, is a dependent person.
- There is no mandatory service requirement to avail of the leave and it will cover both fixed-term and part-time employees.
- Notably, this leave can also be applied for retrospectively after the employee has taken the days. It is advised that the employee notify their employer “as soon as reasonably practicable” through the correct channels in their employment.
- An employee will not have to provide any documentary evidence in support of their leave.
- This leave will facilitate the employee to:
- seek medical attention
- obtain services from a victim services organisation
- obtain psychological or other professional counselling
- relocate temporarily or permanently
- obtain an order under the Domestic Violence Act 2018
- seek legal advice
- seek Garda assistance
- seek or obtain any other relevant services
The introduction of Domestic Violence Leave in the Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 2023 marks a significant milestone in Ireland’s commitment to fostering a workplace culture that prioritises the well-being of its employees.
By addressing domestic violence and abuse through dedicated leave provisions, the legislation recognises the unique challenges faced by victims and strives to create a supportive environment that empowers individuals to break free from the cycle of violence.