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Domestic violence a workplace issue.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE will cost employers at least $368 million for the year ending June 2014, according to research commissioned by the Public Service Association and released last month. The report, Productivity Gains from Workplace Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence, says if nothing is done, the total cost of domestic violence will be at least $3.7 billion over the next 10 years. (1) The report's lead author is economist Suzanne Snively, a former partner at financial advisory firm PWC.

It says research over the last 30 years finds conclusively that staying in employment is critical to reducing the effects of violence. It calls on employers to implement workplace protections to support victims. A growing body of evidence suggests that, as well as the potential for breaking the cycle of domestic violence, the introduction of workplace protections for people affected by domestic violence saves employer costs, eg recruitment and re-training, and increases productivity.

The report recommends a number of workplace protections, including acknowledging domestic violence as a work issue; employers implementing tailored domestic violence human resources policies that can be integrated with existing health and safety policies; and a national policy that entitles victims of domestic violence to up to 10 days special leave (non-accrued) for issues related to addressing and resolving domestic violence.

The report estimates 270,902 people will experience domestic violence this year and 41 per cent of them will be working full-time. Commending the PSA on the research, Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Jackie Blue said it was a reminder domestic violence was reaching epidemic proportions and remained "our national shame".

Green Party MP Jan Logie launched her Domestic Violence--Violence Protection Bill in tandem with the research. Its four major changes would: protect victims from discrimination on the basis of domestic violence; allow them to request flexible working arrangements, if needed; allow them up to 10 days' leave a year related to the violence; and clarify that domestic violence is a workplace hazard that needs to be managed like other hazards.


(1) Kahui, S., Ku, B. & Snively, S. (2014) Productivity Gains from Workplace Protection of Victims of Domestic Violence. Wellington: Public Service Association.

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Title Annotation:news & events
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Apr 1, 2014
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