Parliament has passed a law that allows victims of domestic violence to take up 10 days paid leave from work each year.

The Domestic Violence - Victims Protection Bill passed without the support of National, which said it was yet another cost being passed on to small businesses.

Act also voted against the bill but it passed with the support of Labour and New Zealand First, by 63 votes to 57.

The bill requires employers to have policies in place for dealing with the effects of domestic violence on employees.


Green MP Jan Logie introduced the bill in 2016. It is expected to take effect on April 1 2019.

Logie told Parliament today the bill was a commitment to early intervention and prevention of domestic violence.

"We heard from advocates, court staff and survivors that the existing leave provisions just aren't enough for victims to deal with the courts, find a new house, go to counselling or support their children dealing with trauma.

"The need for improved flexible working arrangements, additional leave and protection from discrimination is well established," Logie said.

Several businesses, including the Warehouse, ANZ and Countdown, already have domestic violence policies in place.

She reassured employers that the leave applied only to victims and people caring for child victims. The bill entitled victims to up to 10 days' leave a year and experience showed that most victims did not take the 10 days.

Research had shown the initial cost of implementing the policies was less that the annual wage increase in a bad year and rapidly offset by returns from lower turnover and increased productivity, Logie said.

"This bill is a win for victims, a win for business and ultimately a win for all of us."


Research by Women's Refuge had found that 60 per cent of New Zealand women who had been in a violent relationship were in full-time work before the relationship, but fewer than half managed to stay in it.

Fellow Green MP Golriz Ghahraman told Parliament the bill gave due recognition to the physical and emotional cost of living with abuse and violence.

"This bill says we will all share in the cost of supporting survivors and their families, allowing survivors to remain in the work force whilst getting a little space and time to leave, to regroup," Ghahraman said.

National has reversed its position on the bill after supporting it at first reading.

National's justice spokesman Mark Mitchell said the bill would not prevent a single attack against women and could result in employers filtering potential employees for those who may become victims of domestic violence.

"If the Government really believes in this bill, if they really believe in what they're doing then fund it. Don't pass the costs on to small- and medium-sized businesses because they cannot bear the cost of this," he told reporters.


Domestic violence charity Shine said domestic violence was already costing businesses, "not just financially but more importantly the human toll".

"'Businesses without a domestic violence programme are not playing their part to stop domestic violence, and there's also a cost in lost productivity and additional staff recruitment," Shine spokeswoman Holly Carrington said.

A Colmar Brunton Better Futures report showed almost 90 per cent of Kiwis worried that not enough was being done to keep New Zealand safe and healthy.

"Mark Mitchell and his party are out of step with how many New Zealanders, including the business community, feel about this issue," Carrington said in a statement.

What the bill does

•Provide domestic violence victims and caregivers of child victims up to 10 days paid leave per year, in addition to holiday and sick leave

•Allows victims to request flexible working arrangements


•Prohibits domestic violence as a grounds for discrimination under the Human Rights Act

•Amends the definition of "hazard" in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to include situations where a person's behaviour stems from being a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence

•Introduces a requirement for business owners to have a policy for dealing with hazards that arise in the workplace due to domestic violence