New Zealand Passes World's First Bill To Guarantee Paid Leave To Domestic Violence Survivors

"Domestic violence isn't restricted to the home. It reaches into workplaces all over our country."

Every four minutes, New Zealand authorities are called to handle domestic violence cases. A new bill passed by the country's legislature is intended to ensure that survivors are supported in the workplace while they make changes at home.

The bill is the world's first legislation supporting victims of domestic violence that will give survivors the right to ask for 10 days of paid leave in addition to sick days and holidays.

The bill was introduced in 2016, and will take effect in 2019, per CNN. The bill passed with 63 votes to 57. 

The legislation's sponsor, Jan Logie of New Zealand's Green Party, said the bill benefits everyone. 

"We have a massive social problem measured in lives lost, the profound harm done, and significant lost productivity in business. This bill is a win for victims, a win for business and, ultimately, a win for all of us," she told CNN.

She added: "Domestic violence isn't restricted to the home. It reaches into workplaces all over our country: stalking, constant emails, attacks, or threats inside and outside of the workplace."

This is a huge step forward for New Zealand, which has the highest rates of domestic violence in the developed world. The country spends between NZ$4.1 billion and $7 billion a year responding to domestic violence cases, reports The Guardian. 

Dr Ang Jury, the chief executive of Women's Refuge said that bill would not immediately stop domestic violence, but would help shift the culture around it while supporting survivors. 

"We know women's economic situation is pivotal to her choices that decides what she can and can't do," she told The Guardian. "If she can retain her job and retain the confidence of her employer, whilst still dealing with domestic issues, then that is great news."

Cover image via  jejim / Shutterstock.

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