At enableHR, we know that keeping up with an ever-evolving regulatory environment is not easy. It just so happens that we are pretty good at putting together handy fact sheets that make it easier to keep up with NZ’s changing workplace law. Like this one here, which is everything you need to know about the latest amendment to the Employment Relations Act 2000, regarding domestic Violence leave. Now, in 5 minutes, you can be in the know, and carry on with your day. You’re welcome!
enableHR Snapshot: Domestic Violence Leave
What law is impacted?
The Employment Relations Act 2000
What has been amended?
The Act has been amended through part 6AB to include provisions for a new type of paid leave, Domestic Violence leave.
When is this amendment available?
1 April 2019.
Why is this amendment being made?
Domestic violence is identified as a prevalent issue in New Zealand. In New Zealand, across 2017, police investigated more than 120,000 family harm incidents (that’s about one every four minutes).
The need for domestic violence leave was recognized as necessary measure to protect people who are unable to work because of domestic violence.
Details that you should know about the amendments:
- Employees dealing with domestic violence are entitled to 10 days paid leave per year (after 6 months of continuous employment for the organization). Leave can be taken as required. If the employee reaches the 10-day maximum, they can request advance leave where it is deemed appropriate (but it cannot be accrued) (Subpart 5).
- Employees who are the victim of domestic violence are entitled to a short-term flexible working arrangement. This must be requested in writing by the employee, or someone on their behalf (Part 6AB).
- The new provisions to the Act provide protection from discrimination for employees who are unable to work because of Domestic violence, (Section 108A).
Can Domestic violence leave request be refused?
As this form of leave is of a very personal, and highly sensitive nature it should be dealt with in a confidential way with compassion for the employee.
An employer can refuse to approve leave if:
- The employees work cannot be reorganized
- There is no available replacement labour
- There will be a substantial impact on quality or performance
- The proposed arrangements are unviable for the organization
- The leave or arrangements would interfere with structural changes
- There would be a detrimental impact on meeting customer demand.
Can an Employee dispute an employer’s decision?
Employees who feel discriminated against or feel that any request has been refused unfairly, can dispute this. If their complaint is held, the employer can face financial penalties.
Options for disputing an employer’s decision:
- Labour Inspectorate
- Mediation as an employment relationship problem
- Apply to the ERA for a determination
What do businesses need to do to stay compliant with current regulations?
We recommend that you review and update the following HR documentation to meet workplace compliance standards:
- Employment Agreements (all)
- Leave policy
- Grievance policy
- Any other policy documentation or processes that cover leave types for employees in your organisation.
If you are an enableHR customer, we’ve already updated your standard HR templates for you! All you need to do is update the relevant documentation using enableHR’s document workflows. Too easy!