Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has criticised the failure of the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to deliver 10 days paid leave for victims of domestic violence.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“I am deeply disappointed that the government today insisted on going ahead with a number of deeply flawed amendments which will fail survivors of domestic violence who require paid leave from work. This decision is inexplicable and flies in the face of best practice and expert advice. I am urging the government to do the right thing and stop attempting to push through this flawed and unsuitable legislation.
“Since the publication of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, has been criticised by politicians, stakeholders, and trade unions for not going far enough with proposals to support victims of domestic violence.
“Clearly aware of the flaws in his legislation the Minister brought forward a number of amendments to the Bill today.
“However, his amendments have only solidified problematic aspects of the Bill; this is especially true of Minister O’Gorman’s failure to deliver 10 days paid domestic violence leave for victims.
“Instead, the Minister’s amendments only grant five days leave for victims in limited circumstances. This is insufficient and totally fails victims.
“Domestic violence leave is intended to facilitate victims in accessing supports and completing their journey to safety, and five days leave is not enough in this regard.
“As Unite the Union pointed out, “…given the lack of vital supports such as refuge places, five days’ paid domestic violence leave is not only inadequate but may actually mean that women are forced to return to an abusive situation because they do not have sufficient paid leave to complete their journey to safety”.
“10 days paid leave would enable victims to take the time they need to seek support, find accommodation, find new schools for their children, open a new bank account, attend court, or undertake any multitude of things they may need to do during such a traumatic time.
“Providing only five days leave will also create a two-tier system in the public service where 10 days domestic violence leave is already the norm in many agencies and institutions.
“It is not too late for the government to rectify their mistakes and either significantly amend their own Bill, or they can support Sinn Fein’s Organisation of Working Time (Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2020 which provides for 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave and is supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.”