Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Act 2018 - August 2018

In this context, a person affected by domestic violence means a person who is one or both of the following:

  • a person against whom any other person is inflicting, or has inflicted, domestic violence,
  • a person with whom there ordinarily or periodically resides a child against whom any other person is inflicting, or has inflicted, domestic violence.

This will impose additional costs, but employers have the right to request reasonable proof for such arrangements.

Flexible Working:

This section operates in a similar fashion to the existing right to flexible working arrangements under the Employment Relations Act:

  • An affected employee may request flexible working arrangements, for up to 2 months (no limit under the ERA previously).
  • The request must be in writing and set out a number of details, including how the variation will assist the employee.
  • The employer must respond as soon as possible, but in any event within 10 working days (within one month in other circumstances under the ERA). 
  • Responses must be in writing and agreement must not unreasonably be withheld.
  • The employer may refuse a request only if proof of domestic violence is required and not produced, or the request cannot be accommodated reasonably on certain non-accommodation grounds, in which case the employer must state the grounds for refusal and explain 

    the reasons.

Domestic Violence Leave:

  • Employees are entitled to up to 10 days’ domestic violence leave per year. As is presently the case with sick leave, that means the leave is the employee's to use as they see fit.  While the employer is able to ask for proof, in the absence of agreement the matter becomes an employment relationship problem.
  • The threshold for such leave is similar to that for sick leave – ie after 6 months continuous service, or where the employee has worked at least 10 hours per week in a 6 months’ period, and no less than 1 hour per week, or 40 hours per month in that 6 months period.
  • Employees must advise employers of their intention to take domestic violence leave as early as possible prior to taking the leave.  Where this is not practicable, as early as possible after they have taken the leave.
  • The Holidays Act has also been amended to allow an employee on annual holidays to take domestic violence leave instead.