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Review of employment rights for domestic abuse survivors launched

The government has launched a review of employment rights for survivors of domestic abuse in a bid to look at what more could be done to help survivors in the workplace.

The review, launched by Business Minister Paul Scully, will explore the availability of flexible working and unplanned leave for domestic abuse survivors. It will look at options to improve the workplace for survivors, including how employers can help tackle economic abuse, such as by paying wages to a different bank account or making emergency salary payments available for those in real financial hardship.

Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Domestic abuse may occur in the home, but its impact stretches into every aspect of survivors’ lives.”

“This review aims to give employers the confidence and knowledge to support workers affected by domestic abuse. It will build the evidence base for possible future action by government and employers, to ensure that survivors are properly supported at work.”

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “The CIPD welcomes this government review on the important issue of domestic abuse and what can be done by employers to support staff that are experiencing abuse.”

“Far too many people have their lives destroyed by domestic abuse and there is growing evidence of increases of incidents during the lockdown and the current crisis. Domestic abuse is a societal issue, but also a workplace issue. Work should be a safe place for people where they feel they can ask for support. EHRC research also finds that 75% of those enduring domestic abuse are targeted at work, from harassing phone calls and abusive partners arriving at the office unannounced.”

“Employers can help create a safe and supportive workplace culture by raising awareness, and through providing the right policies and guidance for managers and staff as well as signposting to sources of support,” he added.

One in five survivors of domestic abuse need to take time off due to the abuse they have endured.

The review is part of the government’s wider approach to tackling domestic abuse. The Domestic Abuse Bill continues through Parliament and will introduce a new statutory definition of domestic abuse into law that includes, coercive or controlling behaviour, as well as emotional and economic abuse.

The Bill will also provide police forces with new powers through the Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Order, as well as place a duty on local authorities in England to provide support for victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation.

Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner, said: “We all have a part to play in identifying and responding to domestic abuse, and when done effectively and sensitively employers can play a pivotal role in supporting survivors to rebuild their lives. I strongly welcome the government’s commitment to enhance support through the workplace in recognition of this.”

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