Employers in Ireland face a significant change with the introduction of Domestic Violence Leave under the Work-Life Balance Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023. This article highlights key points from this legislation and the recent announcement by Minister Roderic O'Gorman, which assures victims of domestic violence full pay when taking this essential leave.
Domestic Violence Leave Overview
Domestic violence Leave, provided under the Parental Leave Acts, offers up to five days of paid leave within a year, with no service requirement. It ensures full pay for employees.
This leave aims to support employees facing domestic violence, allowing them to seek medical help, access victim support services, receive counselling, relocate, seek legal advice, involve the Garda Síochána, or obtain safety orders. Eligibility extends to those helping relevant persons, such as spouses, dependent children, or cohabitants.
Employees can request this leave retrospectively without documentary evidence, recognising the sensitive nature of these situations.
Protecting Employment Rights
During Domestic Violence Leave, employees' employment rights remain intact, including annual leave and public holidays.
Employers must not penalise employees for taking Domestic Violence Leave, as it is strictly prohibited under the law. Penalties include dismissal, unfair treatment, or unfavourable employment changes.
Penalties can result in compensation of up to 20 weeks' remuneration or for dismissals claims under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, with a maximum compensation of 2 years' remuneration.
Employers are obliged to maintain records of Domestic Violence Leave, including employment periods and leave dates, for three years.
Full Pay Assurance
Minister O'Gorman's announcement ensures that employees taking Domestic Violence Leave receive their full pay. This removes financial worries for those seeking support.
Support for Employers
Women's Aid is developing resources to assist employers in creating domestic violence workplace policies. These resources will be available when the leave commences (Autumn), simplifying policy implementation.
Domestic violence Leave introduces new responsibilities for employers in Ireland. Employers must prepare, stay informed about regulations, and utilise available resources to create a safe and supportive work environment for all employees.