Unions Demand Paid Leave for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Unions Demand Paid Leave for Survivors of Domestic
Violence and stronger protection against violence and
harassment at work.
November 25 - Public sector unions in the Asia Pacific region have launched a campaign for universal paid leave for survivors of domestic violence as part of a push to strengthen labour laws and policies that can help stop violence and harassment.
On the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) trade unions are demanding governments and employers take stronger action to end sexual harassment and gender based violence. “While the #MeToo movement has drawn global attention to the prevalence of sexual harassment, particularly in high profile industries, less attention has been given to the role employers and labour laws must have in providing safe workplaces. Effective workplace laws and policies can both stop workplace harassment and provide support for survivors of domestic violence’” said Kate Lappin, Regional Secretary of Public Services International, the Global Union Federation for workers delivering public services. A particular focus of the campaign is the demand for paid domestic violence leave “Paid leave will allow survivors, most of whom are women, to attend to urgent needs such as obtaining legal and medical help, securing housing and opening new bank accounts, without having to worry about discrimination or losing their job.”
Lappin said that in addition to providing practical support to survivors, paid domestic violence leave helps change discriminatory social norms, which is crucial to breaking the cycle of violence against women.
New Zealand became the second country to legislate
for paid domestic violence leave this year. The Philippines
introduced the right 14 years ago through its Anti-Violence Against Women and Their
Children Act of 2004. Paid domestic violence leave is
included in the draft ILO Convention and Recommendation on
Violence and Harassment Against Women and Men in the World
of Work and unions are insisting it be retained when the
proposal is debated next year. But a number of governments
and many employer representatives want to water down the
instruments. “It’s hard to believe that some governments
and employers still don’t want to do everything possible
violence and harassment” said Annie Enriquez Geron, General Secretary of the Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK) in the Philippines. “But we know that there are still attempts to weaken the proposed rules and we won’t stand for that” she added.
To kick off the campaign, PSI is launching a campaign toolkit on paid domestic violence leave today, in observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism and the theme “HearMeToo”.