New Zealand just became the first nation in the world to mandate paid leave for domestic violence victims.
Any worker who is subjected to domestic violence is eligible for 10 days paid leave so they can take the necessary actions to separate from their partner, protect their family, move locations, or take legal action. The victim is not required to show any proof of the violence, and the legislation will also require employers to offer additional workplace safety measures, such as changing work locations or contact information.
The legislation, which was approved this week by 63 votes to 57, will go into full effect in April.
Green MP Jan Logie, who has spent the last seven years working on the measure, worked in a women’s shelter before she became a politician – and as representatives cheered for the bill, she was reportedly seen with tears in her eyes.
“Part of this initiative is getting a whole-of-society response. We don’t just leave it to police, but realize we all have a role in helping victims. It is also about changing the cultural norms and saying ‘we all have a stake in this and it is not OK’,” said Logie, according to The Guardian.
Legislators hope that the initiative will be the first of many steps taken to help domestic violence victims in New Zealand, which currently experiences the highest rates of domestic violence of any other developed country.
“Domestic violence doesn’t respect that split between work and life. A huge amount of research tells us a large number of abusive partners bring the violence into the workplace,” said Logie. “Be that by stalking their partner, by constant emails or phone calls or threatening them or their workmates. And some of that is about trying to break their attachment to their job to get them fired or get them to quit so they are more dependent on their partner.”