Justice Committee reports on domestic violence workplace protections bill

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The Justice Committee has released their final report on the Domestic Violence—Victims' Protection Bill. The Committee was unable to come to agreement about whether the bill should proceed.

The Domestic Violence—Victims' Protection Bill is Jan Logie MP's member's bill on domestic violence workplace protections. The Bill introduced in 2016 and referred to the Justice Committee in 2017. The bill would enhance specific workplace protections for victims of domestic violence by amending five Acts.

In considering its recommendations, the Justice Committee reviewed Jan Logie's Supplementary Order Paper and more than 100 submissions.

The Labour Party members of the committee support the bill with proposed amendments. These amendments are outlined in the Justice Committee Final Report.

However, the National Party MPs have withdrawn their support for the bill. The Justice Committee Final Report states:

"New Zealand National Party members of the committee do not support the proposed amendments made in the revision-tracked version of the bill.

National members of the committee do not support the bill in its current form. We have seen many examples of employers recognising and providing appropriate support, flexibility in working arrangements and leave for employees affected by domestic violence. We have seen no evidence that employers are taking an unreasonable approach to this important issue that justifies the complex new regulatory requirements proposed in this bill."

Advocates who have been working to develop and support workplace protections for victims of domestic violence have criticised the National Party for withdrawing their support. Women’s Refuge said they were "deeply disappointed" by National's decision. The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions said:

"We’re frankly gutted that the National Party has pulled their support. They are right to say that some employers are already supporting women in these situations. But it shouldn’t be left to luck that people experiencing domestic violence will have a safe workplace that supports them to stay employed. We need a minimum legal protection for all survivors to hold on to the lifeline that their work can provide."

The next step is for the bill to have its second reading in Parliament. Radio NZ reported that National is looking at introducing a Supplementary Order Paper when Parliament debates the bill at the Committee of the whole House. Radio NZ also reported the Green Party hopes the bill will still have enough support to pass.

Background information

For information about the legislation, research about supporting victims in the workplace and Aotearoa New Zealand workplaces who are taking action to address family violence, see NZFVC Issues Paper #7: Intimate partner violence and the workplace (2014) and our previous news stories below.

Additional feedback invited on Domestic Violence—Victims' Protection Bill

Submissions open on domestic violence workplace bill; new research on economic abuse

Addressing family violence in the workplace on International Women's Day

Domestic violence workplace Bill drawn from ballot; more businesses launch policies

Westpac first employer to receive Shine's DVFREE Tick

University of Auckland introduces family violence policy

Warehouse Group establishes workplace protections for victims of family violence

Related news

In 2017, the Ministry of Justice launched a workplace family violence policy to create a workplace that is safe and supportive for staff experiencing family violence. The Ministry has been awarded the Shine DVFREE Tick for this work.

Selected media

Commission welcomes progress on family violence legislation, Press Release: Human Rights Commission, Scoop, 14.06.2018

Domestic violence spills into workplace, Waatea News, 13.06.2018

Investing within the workplace to break the cycle of family violence, National Business Review, 12.06.2018