Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has expressed her dismay at the Government’s U-turn on the rates of pay for victims who avail of domestic violence leave.
The bill is due for final stage in the Seanad this evening, after which point it cannot be amended further. The legislation uses a flawed model that mirrors sick pay and enables the Minister to cut victims’ pay by up to 30% when taking domestic violence leave.
After Teachta O’Reilly raised the issue in the Dáil last week, the Minister’s official confirmed with the Irish Examiner that the draconian cut to victims pay would be dropped. When the amendment was not forthcoming Deputy O’Reilly raised the cut in victims’ pay with the Minister in the Dáil today and he confirmed his U-turn on the issue.
Speaking today in the Dáil, Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The Minister for Equality confirmed in the Dáil today that he intends to cut the normal rates of pay for victims availing of a domestic violence leave by up to 30 per cent – despite public commitments to the contrary.
“Over the last number of weeks Women’s Aid, the National Women’s Council, Fórsa and others have outlined in great detail why this decision will place victims at significant risk of harm.
“The fact is that Government’s legislation will put victims at risk. That is an intolerable situation.
“As Women’s Aid have highlighted retaining normal rates of pay for victims who avail of domestic violence leave is in line with international best practice where this type of leave is well established.
“Minister Harris has overall responsibility for coordinating the Government’s zero-tolerance strategy to domestic, sexual and gender-based violence – and he agrees that cutting victims pay is wrong.
“Aligning domestic violence leave with sick pay is totally inappropriate. Domestic violence is not and should not be viewed through the lens of a normal occurrence in life – nor should political leaders accept it as such.
“Today’s decision by the Minister for Equality and upheld by his cabinet colleagues sends an intolerable message to victims of domestic violence, and fundamentally undermines the Third Strategy’s commitments to zero tolerance.”