One of our employees recently requested some leave related to domestic violence issues she had been experiencing. We suggested that she could take some annual leave, but she told us we had to give her extra leave. I heard that there had been some law changes around domestic violence matters, but I do not understand how this works. Are we required to provide her with extra leave?
You are quite possibly required to provide her with some separate leave in this situation. On 1 April 2019 amendments to the Holidays Act 2003 (“the Act”) came into effect which provide for a new type of leave: domestic violence leave. Domestic violence leave is now a minimum statutory entitlement and is completely separate from, and in addition to, any sick leave or annual leave balance.
Whether your employee is entitled to take domestic violence leave will depend on whether she has a domestic violence leave balance and on whether she meets the eligibility criteria. Similar to sick leave and bereavement leave, an employee will not have a minimum entitlement to domestic violence leave when they first start employment. In order to have a domestic violence leave balance, she will need to have met the six-month length of service requirement (s 72D). To qualify for domestic violence leave an employee must have completed: