The announcement last week that New Zealand has passed legislation granting victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave to allow them to leave their partners, find new homes and protect themselves and their children is a reminder of the prevalence of the issue in all countries. The only other country to have a similar provision at a national level is the Philippines.

Sometimes, attempts to pass this form of legislation is met with resistance from employers concerned with costs. However, initiatives to help people stay in employment remain far less expensive than replacing an employee. In the UK the cost of domestic abuse to business is estimated at over £1.9 billion a year due to decreased productivity, time off work, lost wages and sick pay.

A Domestic Abuse Toolkit for Employers developed by Public Health England in conjunction with Business in the Community in June 2018, helps employers look at ways to ensure they have the relevant systems and processes in place. It covers best practice examples from organisations around the UK and suggests measures that HR professionals can consider.

Overall, the Toolkit suggests that employers have a workplace policy which has guidance on domestic abuse, especially to help employers comply with the following laws which are relevant to domestic abuse:
• Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
• Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
• Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995
• Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996

Three key recommended actions for employers:

  1. acknowledge
  2. respond
  3. refer

You can find more information in the Public Health England/Business in the Community toolkit.

practical workplace tips