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Lynn Boylan MEP welcomes vote for paid domestic violence leave

16 March, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin, Lynn Boylan, has welcomed today’s vote in the European Parliament’s Employment Committee that calls for the introduction of paid leave for people experiencing domestic violence.

Ms Boylan, a member of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, authored the Committee’s opinion on the links between poverty and gender in which she proposed the idea. The opinion will be taken on board by the Women’s Rights committee which will propose a final report to the plenary of the parliament.

The Sinn Féin MEP said: “Paid leave for survivors of domestic violence is a valuable new idea that has been introduced in Australia and the US, and today’s vote is the first time MEPs have made a call for its introduction in Europe.

“My report 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.” ENDS

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