The Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act 2018 (“Act”) came into effect on 1 April 2019. The Act amends the Employment Relations Act 2000, the Holidays Act 2003 and the Human Rights Act 1993. Tania Waikato from Cooney Lees Morgan has shared with us the implication of this Act from an employer’s perspective in respect to the two main changes being that:
The qualification period for the new domestic violence leave is the same as for sick leave. The entitlement to domestic violence leave does not carry forward from year to year as sick leave does, but the ten day leave entitlement remains in force for the full 12 months from when leave is first approved and taken.
The employer is entitled to request proof of domestic violence to support the employee’s application for domestic violence leave, but the Act is silent as to what might constitute proof. This is an area that may prove to be difficult for employers and employees, especially in light of the fact that the Act allows a person affected by domestic violence to take domestic violence leave, “regardless of how long ago the domestic violence occurred, and even if the domestic violence occurred before the person became an employee”.
The second new entitlement is the ability for an employee affected by domestic violence to request a short-term variation to their employment arrangements. For example, an employee may wish to work from home for a period, or to take an extended leave of absence if there are fears around a violent partner potentially finding the employee at the workplace.
There are a number of procedural steps that need to be followed when an employee makes a request. If the employer refuses the request it must state in writing the grounds for refusing and explain the reasons for those grounds.
If you require further information you can contact Tania at Cooney Lees Morgan firstname.lastname@example.org