Youth and Equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman has announced that domestic violence leave will come into effect from today.
Under the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023, anyone experiencing or at risk of domestic violence will be entitled to take five days leave in order to access supports.
People who access this leave are entitled to full pay.
Ireland is one of the first countries in the EU to introduce this form of work leave.
Mr O’Gorman said the introduction of this leave should open up more conversations about safety in the workplace.
“Domestic violence leave is not just about the leave. It can start conversations in workplaces and society around domestic violence and raise awareness,” he said.
“Employers have a crucial role to play and I would encourage them to use the supports which have been developed to create a safe space for employees experiencing domestic violence."
The Government commissioned Women’s Aid to develop supports for employers to implement the leave.
It will host a series of webinars to provide information to employers on domestic violence policies.
No evidence of domestic violence
The Equality Minister previously told Newstalk workers will not have to provide evidence of abuse to employers to claim the leave.
He also acknowledged five days will not allow victims a significant amount of time to "address the consequences of the domestic violence" and said Government would reexamine the legislation in two years’ time.
Some 34,000 cases of domestic abuse were reported to Women's Aid last year.
The Work Life Balance Act also introduced five days unpaid leave for medical care purposes for parents of children under 12, the right to request flexible working for parents and carers, the right to request remote working for all employees and two years breastfeeding breaks.
It has been described as “the strongest tranche of legislation that has been produced for workers” by one HR expert.
If you are impacted by any of the issues discussed in this article you can contact the Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900.
You can access local domestic violence services here.