New Zealand Now Gives Paid Leave To People Escaping Domestic Violence

by Christina Marfice
Image via Alex Grimm - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

New Zealand is now one of only two countries that guarantee paid leave to victims of domestic violence

New Zealand just passed a law that guarantees victims of domestic violence 10 days of paid leave from their jobs so they can leave their partners, care for themselves and their children and find new homes if needed.

Victims of domestic violence face so many barriers to getting themselves to safety. Now, in New Zealand, there’s one less. The only other country in the world to offer paid leave to abuse victims is the Philippines, but New Zealand lawmakers are hoping more countries will now follow suit. Us, too.

According to The Guardian, New Zealand has one of the highest rates of domestic abuse in the world — police reportedly respond to a call for it every four minutes. In the United States, that rate is more than 20 per minute.

New Zealand Green MP Jan Logie has been working on this legislation for seven years. She teared up when it was passed, with other lawmakers cheering behind her.

“Part of this initiative is getting a whole-of-society response. We don’t just leave it to police but realize we all have a role in helping victims. It is also about changing the cultural norms and saying ‘we all have a stake in this and it is not OK,'” she said.

The law will go into effect in April of next year. In addition to providing 10 days of paid leave (without victims having to prove their victim status in any way), it will quickly give victims flexible work conditions that are protected by law, allowing them to change their work location, or have their work contact details changed and removed from public view.

For too many women, financial barriers stand in the way of escaping a violent situation. Hopefully, more of the world can follow New Zealand’s lead in providing one way to help alleviate those barriers.