Human Rights Commission welcomes progress on family violence legislation
The Human Rights Commission welcomes the support shown in Parliament last night for legislation that would see family violence policies introduced in New Zealand workplaces.
“This is an idea whose time has come,” says Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue as Parliament passed the second reading of the Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Bill.
“The moral argument is powerful and the business case is compelling for employers to implement simple and effective family violence policies,” Dr Blue says.
“The workplace is often the only place a victim feels safe, and constructive policies in the workplace can help break the cycle of abuse.
“Arguments against the bill centre around the cost to small business. But there is a cost to doing nothing. Employers and the wider economy pay for family violence through the loss of productivity that results from employee disengagement, work interruptions, and retraining when victims are unable to continue working,” she says.
“Keeping an employee safe and supporting them can be as simple as connecting them with a family violence specialist group, screening phone calls and visitors, and providing leave to attend appointments and make arrangements.
“With an estimated half million family violence victims in New Zealand and with more than 40% in paid employment, the workplace is a powerful and effective place to intervene.
“I was very interested to hear that New Zealand First will advocate with the Tax Working Group that any family violence leave taken would be tax deductible for the business.
“This bill will change lives and save lives,” Dr Blue says.