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Lynn Boylan MEP welcomes Parliament's vote for paid domestic violence leave

27 May, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Lynn Boylan said she is delighted that the European Parliament has adopted her call for the introduction of paid leave for people experiencing domestic violence during this week's plenary session in Brussels.

Ms Boylan proposed the introduction of paid domestic violence leave in Europe through an opinion she recently authored in the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, and key aspects of this opinion were incorporated by the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee report that was voted on yesterday by MEPs.

Ms Boylan said: “I am very pleased to see the proposal from Sinn Féin that calls on the European Commission and Member States to look seriously at implementing this new form of leave for people experiencing domestic violence was adopted with overwhelming support by MEPs.

“Paid leave for survivors of domestic violence is a valuable new idea that has been introduced in Australia and the US, and this week's vote is the first time the European Parliament has called for its introduction in Europe.

“My proposal stresses the need for determined efforts to combat domestic violence, and calls on the Commission and Member States to look at introducing a system of paid special leave for victims and survivors of domestic violence. This would ensure their employment – and their economic independence – is protected when dealing with the impact of domestic violence, for example, by allowing people to have the time to manage medical appointments, court appearances and other duties that must be addressed in such situations.

“This issue affects millions of people, mostly women, across the EU. We know that one in five women experience domestic abuse. A British government study in 2009 found that 20 per cent of employed women had to take a month or more off work in the previous year due to domestic violence, and that 2 per cent of working women actually lost their jobs as a result of it.

“In 2013 and 2014, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, British Trade Union Congress and other unions carried out an extensive survey of their members about this issue which confirmed these figures; and they have called on governments and employers to do more.

“It’s important that we recognise the pressure that domestic violence places on women who are trying to maintain their employment and their economic independence. This economic independence in fact plays a crucial role in their ability to extricate themselves from situations of domestic violence. Women who have exhausted paid leave are at risk of losing their jobs, losing their security and becoming more at risk of poverty.

“I’m very pleased that Sinn Féin as successfully placed this proposal firmly on the agenda of the European Parliament, and call on Irish policy-makers to take this on board immediately and act to introduce this leave in Ireland.” ENDS

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