Law Centre NI welcomes the Northern Ireland Assembly's recent passage of the Domestic Abuse (Safe Leave) Bill. It will entitle employees in Northern Ireland, who are victims of domestic abuse, the right to avail of up to ten days of paid leave a year. This is termed “safe leave”.
Suffering from domestic abuse is undoubtedly a traumatic time for victims. Instead of having to take annual leave or unpaid leave as a consequence of abuse, employees will be able to use safe leave. This aims to protect the individual’s employment position during this time.
At a time when domestic abuse incidents are particularly high (32,219 in 2021), the legislation will mean that Northern Ireland will be the first jurisdiction in the UK to provide the right to paid leave for victims.
The right to avail of safe leave will be a “day one” employment right with no qualifying service period. It will allow victims time to deal with issues related to the abuse including finding alternative accommodation and obtaining legal advice and healthcare.
The Bill is awaiting Royal Assent and the commencement date is yet to be confirmed. The Bill can be accessed at the following link: http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/globalassets/documents/legislation/bills/non-executive-bills/session-2017-2022/dom-abuse-safe-leave/domestic-abuse-bill---as-amended-at-cs---full-print-version.pdf
Law Centre NI awaits the future regulations with interest.