Domestic violence bill will pass without National support

Original Article: Henry Cooke, Stuff | June 28, 2018

National will not vote for a domestic violence leave bill proposed by Green MP Jan Logie after two proposed amendments from the party were rejected.

Logie's Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill made it out of committee stage on Wednesday night with several amendments accepted - but none from the National Party.

The member's bill would require employers to give victims of domestic violence up to 10 days leave from work, separate from annual leave and sick leave entitlements.

It also allows workers who are victims of domestic violence to request flexible working arrangements and prohibits being a victim of domestic violence as a grounds for discrimination under the Human Rights Act. 

It will pass third reading with the support of Labour, NZ First, and the Greens.

National supported the bill at first reading while still in Government early last year, but dropped their support at second reading.

The party's justice spokesman Mark Mitchell has said the provisions of the bill would be too onerous for small and medium-sized employers.

He proposed two amendments on Wednesday night that were rejected by the Government parties, ensuring National would vote against the bill at third reading.

One of the proposed amendments would roll the domestic violence leave back into annual and sick leave, while the other proposed a nationwide education campaign to make sure employers knew their obligations.

"I think that many people would feel a great deal of sympathy for what Jan Logie is attempting to achieve here, but I also have a great deal of sympathy for the business owners who are not actually the perpetrators of domestic violence," National's Judith Collins said, speaking in support of Mitchell's amendment.

"[The employers] would have to, along with the workmates of the victim, therefore pay for essentially someone to be able to take extra time off because they need it and outside of the sick days and annual leave provisions."

Logie said employers were already paying right now.

"We have a huge amount of evidence now from years of research that tells us about the impact of that domestic violence in workplaces where victims are stalked in their workplaces, where they are sabotaged from attending work or performing in their jobs by their abusers, and that they are also often harassed in the workplace," Logie said.

"That is happening right now, and we know from the evidence that employers generally—most of them don't know how to deal with it."

Two New Zealand First amendments clarifying timeframes were accepted.

The bill is likely to come up for a third reading in late July.

 - Stuff