JAN LOGIE: A win for women

10/03/2017
This week, on International Women’s Day no less, I was thrilled that every MP in Parliament supported my Bill to change lives for victims of domestic violence. New Zealand has one of the worst rates of family and intimate partner violence in the world, with police called to an incident every five minutes. In New Zealand, we need to address the damaging and often hidden impacts of domestic violence, and what we can do to help.

Quite often work colleagues are the only ones who know or suspect that domestic violence is happening. People want to do the right thing, but don’t know what to do. Half of New Zealand employers will have a staff member who’s affected by family violence. The Bill means employers know how they can support victims, for example by providing additional leave days and flexible working arrangements. Victims will be able to take up to 10 days of paid leave to go to Women’s Refuge, to move house, or to help support their kids during this difficult time. Unions have been calling for workplaces to have this in their collective agreement for years.

Providing workplace protections for victims of abuse so they can stay in work is critical to reducing the effects of violence, yet employers often don’t know what they can do to help. Now, victims will no longer have to choose between escaping a relationship and keeping a paycheck. Some employers, like ANZ and The Warehouse, already provide this leave. We need a law change though, because everybody deserves a safe workplace where they can get the support they need to escape a violent relationship. It shouldn’t be up to luck whether someone’s employer offers this support.

Now that my Bill is going to Select Committee, we will be able to hear from New Zealanders who have been affected by domestic violence and how having workplace protections can really help. The bill will still need to pass through this committee process, and will face other votes before becoming law. Let’s ensure that all MPs continue to support having a safer New Zealand.

Green Party MP Jan Logie is Spokesperson for Social Development (including Women, Community and Voluntary Sector), State Services, Local Government (including Civil Defence) and Rainbow Issues.