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Tuesday 6 June 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman at the launch of the Zero Tolerance strategy and accompanying action plan to tackle domestic, in June of 2022. Pic:
# Domestic Violence
Paying workers a lower salary under domestic violence leave could put victims at risk, Govt warned
Fórsa said that any change to a victim or survivor’s normal rate of pay could ‘alert’ the abuser.

CONCERNS HAVE BEEN raised that plans to pay workers a reduced salary for domestic violence leave under a new bill could inadvertently “alert abusers”. 

The bill proposes a sick leave rate for workers who need to take domestic violence related leave, which caps payment at 70% of salary, or €110 per day.

Fórsa, the country’s largest public service union, has written to Minister Roderic O’ Gorman to express its “grave concerns” over the proposed rate of pay under the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, as it believes that a change to the normal salary of victims and survivors of domestic violence could “alert the abuser”. 

The union suggests that if a 100% pay rate is not in place for those taking leave, abusers may notice a victim’s change in salary, potentially putting the person at risk.

Ashley Connolly, Fórsa’s national secretary, wrote in the letter that the union “strongly” believes that workers requiring domestic violence leave should be paid in full. 

 Connolly added: “The purpose of paid domestic violence leave is to ensure financial stability, and any reduction in pay for those who require it is wholly unacceptable.

“Research has proven that financial control by abusers is one of the reasons people struggle to escape domestic abuse. Those experiencing abuse may not have financial independence or full control of their own finances.

“If a person’s income is monitored or appropriated by their abuser – or both – a change in their normal salary may alert the abuser, putting the victim at risk,” she said.

Women’s Aid has called for ten days of fully paid leave as “best practice”. 

Fórsa’s said that in order for domestic violence leave to work, employees need to be able to avail of it properly.

“This legislation should not impose barriers for those navigating a pathway out of domestic abuse,” she said.

At the union’s conference in May 2022, delegates unanimously backed a motion for full paid leave for victims of domestic violence. 

The piece of legislation that will see the domestic violence leave rolled out was passed on 30 January. 

If you need support you can contact Women’s Aid on their 24 hour national free helpline on 1800 341 900. 

Men’s Aid can be contacted on 01-5543811. 

You can find a wider range of supports, including online services, here. 

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