There is a good deal of conversation going on around the subject of domestic violence leave at the moment. I have made no secret of the fact I am in favour. I come to this conclusion based on experience, listening to the arguments and to talking to corporate. I believe paid domestic violence leave to be a part of the solution to domestic violence and the impact of financial abuse. Introducing this leave makes sense.
There is so much talk about people using this leave as extra holiday leave or as a new way to throw a sickie. Companies are not setting this up to be an extra ten days’ leave. And if you wanted extra leave there are much easier ways to get it.
Will there be the few that rout the system. I would say yes. But that is where training comes in. Companies are training their staff to understand the complexities of domestic violence and how to support employees affected. An understanding the issue and the support the company offers, means the right support can be offered to the right people.
Domestic violence leave is designed to create space for the employee going through domestic violence to have the time to deal with the immediate issues of safety. By allocating this leave there is time to see solicitors, make police statements, attend court, visit the Doctor among other things.
This leave is usually signed off by the day or even the half day. In the companies, I have dealt with it is not seen as an extra two weeks leave. But rather creating a place for an employee to be honest about the support they need and offer them the time to create a save way forward.
Living with an abusive and controlling partner is all consuming and finding the time to have a free thought is difficult. The best way an abusive partner has to make sure that power is complete is to control every aspect of their partner’s life. Paid leave balances out that power and put some control back in the hands of the victims.
This leave makes sense:
For businesses – losing key employees impact productivity, increases recruiting and training costs. Staff retention is an important and paid leave will mean employees have the support they need to maintain their employment.
For Government – Surely it is easy to see how the government benefit from this. If an employee is supported and maintains their employment they also maintain their role as a tax payer. So instead of losing the job and becoming one of those who rely of the government they are actively putting money into this country. Which is money that can go towards helping those who so desperately need it.
For the Not for Profit Sector – this sector is so under-funded and overstretched in the domestic violence area. The more we can keep people in work and away from the poverty domestic violence can cause the more money there is for those who depend on these services.
For Victims – Financial security is so important to rebuilding a life after domestic violence. It is a prevalent factor on why people stay is abusive relationships. Support from an employer whilst dealing with domestic violence including paid leave can be the difference. Nobody wants to become reliant on charity and government financially. And paid domestic violence leave is one of the tools to help ensure that does not happen.
Perpetrators are the only ones not to gain from this. Because paid leave will give their partners the time and space to gain the confidence and information needed to break the chains of the abuse and control their abuser has over them.
Surely the argument cannot be that making sure nobody cons an extra day of work, is more important than offering support and paid leave that can break the cycle of violence and potentially save lives.
I believe a solution is what matters and paid domestic violence leave is a part of the solution for many.