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Sinn Féin call for introduction of paid domestic violence leave - Mary Lou McDonald TD

26 April, 2019 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD, Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald TD and Lynn Boylan MEP have today published a policy paper to highlight the role of employers in creating workplace awareness of domestic violence. Included in the papers recommendations’ is the convening of an expert group to make recommendations to government on the introduction of statutory paid domestic violence leave.

Domestic violence is a workplace issue. It impacts on employees’ ability to perform their duties. Colleagues may be aware of the abuse but in the absence of a workplace policy are unsure what the best course of action is.

Managers need guidance on how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and how to respond to a staff member’s disclosure. Paid domestic violence leave supports staff and addresses related workplace issues in a constructive environment. 

Launching the document, the Sinn Féin leader said:

“Employers have an important and recognised role in creating workplace awareness of domestic violence. Guidelines produced by the HSE set out the actions employers can take to create a safe and supportive workplace for employees experiencing domestic violence. Too often this abuse is shrouded in secrecy and shame.

“By implementing straightforward policies and practices employers can support staff experiencing domestic abuse and assist them to reach the help they need. Paid leave has the potential to encourage domestic violence victims away from their abusers.  These policies also have a cost benefit to employers in terms of employee performance and productivity.

Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan added:

“As the largest employer on the island the public sector must set the bar in supporting and protecting the rights and entitlements of its employees. This means that Employee Assistance Programmes across the civil and public must take a proactive approach to create workplace awareness of domestic violence, and provide guidelines and training for managers.

“One in five women will experience domestic abuse and violence, yet public sector managers are often not trained to pick up on the signs of domestic abuse or how to respond to disclosures from staff. 

“The introduction of paid domestic violence leave would send a strong signal to victims that the workplace is an avenue of support and escape from abuse. Paid leave in addition to workplace awareness of domestic violence practices would enable managers address associated issues such as absenteeism and loss of productivity in a supportive environment."

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