Fórsa concerns on domestic violence leave

A woman holds up her hand in a defensive gesture, suggesting domestic violence.

Domestic violence leave: Fórsa has contacted equality Minister Roderic O’Gorman about its concerns about the rate of pay for under new legislation.

The union contacted the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, to express what it says are the union’s ‘grave concerns’ on the proposed rate of pay – allocated for domestic violence leave – under the provisions of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill (2022).

Fórsa national secretary Ashley Connolly said anyone requiring this type of leave should receive full pay. The Bill proposes a sick leave rate, which caps payment at 70% of salary, or €110 per day.

Ashley added: “The purpose of paid domestic violence leave is to ensure financial stability. Any reduction in pay for those who require it is wholly unacceptable.

“Research has proven that financial control by abusers is one of the reasons people struggle to escape domestic abuse. Those experiencing abuse may not have financial independence or full control of their own finances. If a person’s income is monitored by their abuser a change in their normal salary could alert the abuser. This puts the victim at additional risk.”

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Best practice

Ashley said Fórsa supports the call by Womens’ Aid for ten days of fully paid leave ‘as best practice’. She urged the minister to consider positions on this expressed by a number of senators at the Seanad Committee Stage debate in January.

She added: “We want this leave to work. Fórsa wants to see those who need domestic violence leave avail of it. This legislation should not impose barriers for those navigating a pathway out of domestic abuse,” she said.

At the union’s conference in May 2022, delegates unanimously backed a conference motion for statutory leave for victims of domestic violence. The conference motion committed the union to actively campaign for an effective statutory entitlement.