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Government domestic violence leave proposals fails victims - Louise O’Reilly TD and Kathleen Funchion TD

23 September, 2022 - by Kathleen Funchion TD, Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, and spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, have said that the government’s paid domestic violence leave proposals in their Work Life Balance Bill fall far short of what is needed and fail victims.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“For many years, I have been advocating for paid domestic violence leave for victims of domestic abuse.

“Indeed, I introduced comprehensive, and stakeholder-led legislation in the Organisation of Working Time (Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2020 to do just this.

“It is clear that if we are to end the epidemic of domestic abuse in this state, we need a whole of society response that both supports and protects women, and a key element of this is delivering paid domestic violence leave.

“However, such legislation must be fit for purpose, and deliver for victims of domestic and gender-based violence.

“Unfortunately, after dragging his heels on the matter for several years, the legislative proposals from Minister Roderic O’Gorman fail on a number of fronts.

“It is deeply disappointing that the Ministers Bill provides for just 5 days leave. This is half of what is already the norm in numerous public and private sector organisations, and in the north where a statutory provision for 10 days leave is in place.

“The Minister must also urgently clarify if employers will have the right to request proof of domestic violence or abuse from victims seeking leave as set out in the recommendations of his report published today.

“Victims’ advocates have been unequivocal that such a provision will render this protection null and void. It is also unnecessary as my legislation demonstrates.

“I have included standard employment law protections for an employer where he or she believes leave has not been taken for its intended purpose.

“The provision of paid domestic violence leave is extremely important, but the Minister must commit to getting the legislation right and make sure it delivers for victims.

Teachta Funchion said:

“It is so important that we get this legislation right. I would also like to add my voice to calls for the Minister to clarify recommendations around proof of domestic violence or abuse from victims seeking leave. This would be a very regressive measure and one that I would not support.  

“I am also concerned that the recommended five days’ leave is, as Deputy O’Reilly points out, in direct opposition to current practice. 

“I would encourage the Minister to revisit both measures and draw on Deputy O’Reilly’s Organisation of Working Time (Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2020 as a pathway to deliver robust legislation in this area.”

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