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Domestic Violence — Victims’ Protection Bill

A Member’s Bill in the name of Jan Logie drawn from the ballot on Dec 1, 2016. The Bill seeks to enhance legal protections for victims of domestic violence. It places various duties of care on employers for employees who are victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as a hazard which employers must take all practical steps to stop exposure to. It creates a minimum entitlement to 10 days paid leave for domestic violence. First reading on March 8, 2017 with all parties in agreement, but with Labour and National expressing doubts about the details and impact on employers.  Report back delayed numerous times due to a lack of agreement and eventually reported back on May 10, 2018. MPs could not agree on amendments. National said existing flexible work arrangements were sufficient to meet the problems the Bill was trying to fix. They said small businesses would find the Bill challenging as the definition of domestic violence was broad and the new 10 days of annual domestic violence leave entitlements were significant. Labour supported the Bill but with many amendments including removing the definition of friends and families of victims also being victims for the purpose of accessing the bill’s entitlements and giving employers the right to ask for proof. The second reading was completed on June 14 with National and Act opposed. Labour and the Greens indicated they had agreed on amendments and NZ First said they would also be putting up amendments to assist employers in dealing with complaints if they decline a leave request.  NZ First also wanted the leave provision to be made tax-deductible for business, which they said could be considered by the Tax Working Group.Committee stage completed on June 27 with a number of amendments mostly prescribing a process around applying for the new leave provisions and an appeal process. National and ACT remained opposed. Completed third reading on July 25 with National still opposed.  Domestic Violence—Victims’ Protection Bill