New Zealand's new law about paid time off work for domestic violence
July 31, 2018
I'm not sure what I think about New Zealand's new law about giving people time off (10 days) to escape from domestic violence situations. Making all the necessary arrangements to get out of a situation like that is no doubt time-consuming and the chance of success is higher if the person can focus on that problem. Businesses already have to accommodate various inconveniences, such as compassionate leave for a relative's death, or worker illness.

However, I wonder about a few things. First, how many times will a person be able to take advantage of the law? Abused people often return over and over again to their abusers. A person might also enter into a relationship with a new abuser. A person who repeatedly makes shitty choices needs counseling, not unconditional support for how they choose to live their lives.

The other thing I wonder about is public benefit. Obviously it is in the public benefit if fewer people are suffering from domestic violence. But will fewer people be suffering because of this, or will the abusers simply move on to new victims? Is there any obligation for the victim to assist the police with criminal charges? I would consider it a good deal for society if abusers got locked up, but not a very good deal if one person escapes only for another to take their place.

I suppose in some way this reminds me of maternity leave, because there is an element of choice in it which isn't the case with the death of a family member or an illness...but on the other hand, sometimes sick leave is taken by people who have been in accidents through their own carelessness and we don't withhold leave from them just because of a bad choice.

I do wish they'd fund paid leave through some sort of national scheme, though. While large businesses can probably readily afford this sort of thing, small businesses can really suffer. I know several small businesses that have gone bankrupt due to extended employee illness, because they couldn't cover the cost of the original employee and a substitute.
The other question is, a person takes the ten days to escape, but returns to work. What's the protocol when undoubtedly, the abuser shows up at their victim's workplace?

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