November 25, 2021
Delays to delivery of paid-domestic violence leave a failure of government – Louise O’Reilly TD

Speaking on UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said the failure of the current government to deliver paid-domestic violence leave for workers, who are victims of domestic and gender-based violence, is unacceptable.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It marks the start of the annual 16 Days campaign against domestic and gender-based violence. 

“One of the global themes for this year’s campaign is ending gender-based violence in the world of work. Gender-based violence is not confined to the home, it can happen anywhere, and regardless of where such abuse takes place, the victims carry the mental and physical injuries and scars of such abuse into the world of work.

“As legislators we have a role in protecting women in the workplace and to ensure that victims’ rights and entitlements as employees are enhanced and protected.

“It was for that reason I, and my colleague Teachta Mary Lou McDonald, introduced the Organisation of Working Time (Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2020 this time last year. Sinn Féin’s legislation provides for a statutory annual entitlement of up to 10 days domestic violence paid leave.

“This provision would enable victims take the necessary time off work they need to seek support, find accommodation or attend court in a structured and supported environment. It also addresses unpredictable absenteeism and reduced productivity for employers.

“The Bill passed Second Stage in the Dáil on 8th December 2020, however, since that time it has been delayed and hindered by the current government.

“Despite this being a piece of workers’ rights legislation, the government has worked to ensure it does not go before the Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Committee, against the wishes of myself and Teachta McDonald, thus delaying the Bill. Instead, the government have forced it to go before the Committee on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration.

“The conduct of the government reinforces their own failure to deliver paid-domestic violence leave, a policy they committed to in the Programme for Government. I would implore the government to work with me, and not against me, to get this legislation enacted.

“If we are to end the epidemic of domestic abuse in this state, we need a whole of society response that both supports and protects women, and a key element of this is delivering paid-domestic violence leave.”

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