All businesses will benefit from the Domestic Violence Bill

Original Article: Scoop Media | June 29, 2018

Shine says all businesses will benefit from the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Bill

Specialist domestic violence charity Shine says that the Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill will benefit all employers, including small businesses, through increased productivity and better employee retention.

‘Domestic violence is already costing our businesses – not just financially but more importantly the human toll. Without support from their employer, work is not a safe place for victims of domestic violence, and these staff get judged and blamed for resulting performance issues and often end up leaving their job.,’ says Holly. ‘Businesses without a domestic violence programme are not playing their part to stop domestic violence, and there’s also a cost in lost productivity and additional staff recruitment.’

A key aspect of the bill is the provision of up to ten days’ special paid domestic violence leave. Research by Dr Jim Stanford at the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute (December 2016) shows that the uptake of the same provision of domestic violence paid leave in Australia, where it’s available, is only 0.022%-0.31%, and is hence a negligible cost to employers.

But this leave can make an enormous difference for an employee who needs it, and their employers are more than likely to recoup that cost with increased productivity and staff retention.

As shown in the Colmar Brunton Better Futures report, almost 90% of Kiwis are worried that not enough is being done to keep New Zealand safe and healthy.

“Mark Mitchell and his party are out of step with how many New Zealanders, including the business community, feel about this issue.”

A growing number of businesses are showing they understand the importance of supporting staff who experience domestic violence by engaging with Shine’s DVFREE programme, which also provides the DVFREE Tick accreditation.

To date, Westpac and the Ministry of Justice have attained the DVFREE Tick, with more than twenty further employers currently engaged with DVFREE and working towards DVFREE Tick certification.

DVFREE provides expert guidance on making workplaces safe havens for victims of domestic violence as well as on holding staff accountable for perpetrating domestic violence - especially during work time or using work resources, while supporting them to change their behaviour.

If your business wants to create a workplace that's safe and supportive for staff who experience domestic violence - and prepare for new legislative requirements under this bill - find out more about how DVFREE can help: www.dvfree.org.nz

Stanford’s research also finds:

  • The costs of providing 10 days special domestic violence related leave per year are negligible
  • 15% of all paid employees in Australia (1.6 million workers) already have paid leave for domestic violence
  • Concerns that victims might abuse extra leave offered were unjustified; most victims are reluctant to use services available to them currently, and need encouragement to take those measures. Average leave periods were rarely reported to be longer than a week
  • Opposition to the leave proposals wrongly assumed a high rate of utilisation-that 25% of all women 10% of all men would use the entire 10 days every year; in fact, the utilisation rate of domestic violence paid leave in Australia where available is actually 0.022%-0.31%
  • Between one quarter and one fifth of female victims take paid leave when available; male victims are half as likely to take leave as female victims
  • Benefits to employers of paid domestic violence leave include reduced absenteeism, reduced turnover, improved productivity, and reduced incidence of violence
  • Costs of replacing a single employee are estimated at $20,000 (advertising, interviewing, hiring, training, ramping up)