Domestic Violence Legislation – Implications for Employers



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July 2018

Domestic Violence Legislation – Implications for Employers

What does this mean for employers?

Employers will now be required to provide additional protections, care and leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence. Depending on the circumstances, this may include:

  • Changes to working hours
  • Obtaining Protection Orders covering the workplace
  • Allowing periods of leave for a specified or on an ongoing basis
  • Allowing employees to take leave in order to deal with stress or trauma

 

Changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000

Employers will be required to consider any reasonable request for variation to the employee’s working arrangements in order to accommodate issues an employee may be facing as a result of domestic violence.

Employers must provide a response to a request for variation as soon as possible, but no later than ten working days from the date of the request. Employers can request additional information or proof of domestic violence that they need before agreeing to the arrangement. A request for proof must be made within 3 days of the original request by the employee being lodged.

An employer can deny a request for variation of employment conditions on the grounds that it cannot reasonably accommodate the request. Grounds for non-accommodation may include:

  • Existing staff cannot re-organise the work amongst themselves
  • It is not practicable for the employer to recruit temporary cover
  • Accommodating the request will have a detrimental impact upon the quality of work
  • There is no work available during the hours that the employee wishes to work

 

A new ground for a personal grievance has been added. An employee may have a personal grievance if they have been subjected to adverse treatment in the workplace as a result of:

  • Being affected by domestic violence; or
  • It is suspected or assumed they have been affected by domestic violence.

 

Adverse treatment may include dismissing an employee or offering them different terms and conditions of employment.

 

Changes to the Holidays Act 2003 – Domestic Violence Leave

The Bill also allows an additional 10 days paid leave for employees in order to assist them with dealing with the effects of domestic violence. This leave will be treated in a similar manner to sick leave or bereavement leave and cannot be cashed up or paid out upon the termination of employment.

 

Further information

Please contact us if you would like more information about this new law or to discuss how the changes may affect your business.

 

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