Paid leave for domestic violence victims in New Zealand
by Nick Shekeryk
New Zealand is a small island country with a population of fewer than 4.7 million people, but it carries the burden of having one of the highest domestic violence rates in the developed world. It's a place where police respond to domestic abuse-related incidences every 4 minutes. The alarming rate at which domestic violence is reported has resulted in New Zealand spending between NZ$4.1 billion-NZ$7 billion (approximately $2.8 billion-$5 billion USD) each year on resources for victims. To reduce overall spending on domestic violence and to provide victims more options for safety with less red tape to cut through, New Zealand’s Members of Parliament banded together to pass the paid leave bill.
With the introduction of this nearly unprecedented legislation, which requires employers to give domestic violence victims up to 10 extra days of paid leave in addition to the typical holidays and sick days, New Zealand is one of only two countries to enact a nationwide law of this nature. The other nation is the Philippines, which also offers up to 10 days of paid leave under the same conditions.
The proposal of this bill, which went into effect earlier this month, started in 2016 as a passion project of MP Jan Logie, whose work in a women’s shelter led her to a career in politics. The enactment of this law will surely prove to be a huge step in the right the direction for civil rights in New Zealand— and hopefully, the rest of the world will be watching and taking notes.
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