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The government has made an announcement indicating that employees who have experienced domestic violence and choose to take advantage of domestic violence leave will be granted a five-day leave with their regular pay fully covered. Previously, there had been uncertainty about whether these employees would receive their complete salary or a reduced amount during their leave. This decision regarding payment terms was made after consulting with representatives from employers, trade unions, and organizations providing support for domestic violence victims. Notably, Ireland stands among the pioneering European nations in introducing such a leave provision. 
 
Roderic O’Gorman, the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth, expressed, "Domestic violence leave empowers victims of such abuse to seek assistance without jeopardizing their employment status and income. It's essential for them to take this leave without concerns about income loss or increased risk. Ensuring their full payment during this time will greatly contribute to achieving this goal." 
 
The Domestic Violence Leave, instituted by the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 2023 (referred to as the "Act"), was ratified into law on April 4, 2023, by President Michael D. Higgins. According to the Act, domestic violence encompasses acts of violence, threats of violence, including sexual violence, and behaviors of coercive control. 
 
The core purpose of domestic violence leave is to enable employees to seek medical attention, legal aid, counseling, or relocation, among other needs, without negatively impacting their job security and income. This leave is open to all employees, including part-timers and those on fixed-term contracts. The entitlement also extends to "relevant persons," meaning employees can use this leave to support individuals classified as relevant persons, such as spouses, civil partners, cohabitants, intimate partners, dependent children, or individuals financially dependent on the employee. 
 
Upon taking domestic violence leave, employees are required to notify their employer as soon as reasonably possible, confirming their utilisation of this leave and specifying the dates it was taken. No evidence needs to be presented to the employer. 
 
The formal implementation of domestic violence leave is expected in the upcoming autumn season through the release of regulations, currently under development. These regulations will outline the pay rate and offer guidance to employers. 
 
The timing of introducing domestic violence leave aligns with recent data from An Garda Síochána, indicating a rise in reported cases of domestic violence this year compared to the same period in 2022. The protection established by the Act will enable victims to seek support without the added concern of their employment and income being adversely affected. 
 
For help and support contact us at FT Consultants today for all your workplace needs. 
 
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