November 17, 2020
Sinn Féin introduce Domestic Violence Paid Leave legislation – Mary Lou McDonald TD and Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD and spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, Employment and Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD introduced legislation in the Dáil today that provides for a statutory entitlement to domestic violence paid leave.

Teachta McDonald said:

“Despite the significant increase in demand for services during the pandemic, domestic violence and abuse continues to be underreported due to stigma, shame and fear.

“Domestic violence and abuse takes place in the home but this abuse often follows victims into the workplace.

“Co-workers may be aware of a colleague’s abuse but in the absence of a workplace policy are unsure on how best to support them. Managers need guidance on how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and how to respond to a staff member’s disclosure.

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

“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.

“New Zealand, Australia and provinces in Canada have all introduced forms of paid leave. Ireland’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention and enactment of supporting legislation were important landmarks that must now be built on.” 

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“This legislation is an important addition to existing workplace rights. The provision of a statutory entitlement to paid leave is an acknowledgment by legislators of the challenges workers face when trying to escape an abusive relationship.

“We know abusive partners don’t care one bit about the split between home and work. Legislators and employers have a responsibility to respond to this avenue of abuse by putting in place the necessary workplace and employment rights and protections for victims.

“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.”

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