Minister O’Gorman must make good on commitments made in the Seanad on domestic violence leave.
- Sherlock says without full pay, domestic violence leave is destined to fail those who need it most.
Labour workers’ rights spokesperson Marie Sherlock said tonight (Wednesday, 1st March) that unless domestic violence leave is introduced at a full rate of pay, it will fail those who need it most.
Speaking after the report and final stage of the Work Life Balance Bill in the Seanad, Senator Sherlock said it is hugely disappointing that the Government will not legislate to ensure that domestic and sexually based violence leave is paid at the full rate of pay.
“The introduction of domestic leave is a very progressive and badly needed workplace right but will not be worth the paper it is written on if it is not paid at the full rate of pay. The reality is that if a victim of a domestic or sexually based violence has to think twice about taking the leave out of fear of being out of pocket or being detected by their abuser or their workplace, they won’t take it. Women’s Aid and unions such as Forsa are adamant that leave must be paid at the full rate. Instead, the Minister O’Gorman is insisting on a process for determining the rate to be set by ministerial regulation at a future date.”
“However, the Minister did provide a series of commitments after we pressed him in the Seanad tonight to confirm that domestic and sexually based violence leave will not follow the sick pay rate of 70% He responded that he will secure the income or salary of those seeking leave, that he will ensure that this is effective legislation and that he has “no intention of bringing forward a rate that would in any way undermine that goal” (of effective leave provisions) and that he has no intention of doing anything that would “potentially put victims of DSGBV at risk.”
Senator Sherlock said that notwithstanding that this leave on full pay is not hard wired into the legislation, these commitments are very welcome but said nothing short of leave on full pay will meet these commitments.
“Upon conclusion of the passing of the bill this evening, unfortunately we only have these verbal commitments from the Minister and we will have to take him at his word. Women and men in domestic violence situation deserve to hear a clear and resounded message that their income will be fully protected if forced to take workplace leave and we will work to ensure this is done, fully and comprehensively.”