Domestic violence is also known as family violence. It includes all forms of violence in family and intimate relationships, whether it is physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

The Domestic Violence, Victims Protection Act 2018, came into effect on April 1 this year. This means people affected by family violence have more legal protections at work.

What are your rights?

Get paid domestic violence leave. People who are victims of domestic violence can access up to 10 days paid leave, separate from any other leave, under the Holidays Act 2003. This is to help you deal with the effects of family violence - getting help from a support service, moving house, going to court or supporting your children.


Ask for short-term flexible working hours. Employees who are victims of domestic violence can request a short-term variation to their working arrangement which could include changes to hours of work, location and duties of work.

Not be treated adversely at work because you might have experienced domestic violence. The law prohibits an employee from being treated differently in their employment on the grounds they are, or are suspected to be, a person affected by family violence.

How does it work?

On or before the day you're meant to work, you must tell your employer you want to take domestic violence leave as early as you can. This is the same as when you tell your employer you want to take sick leave or bereavement leave.

If you take domestic violence leave or ask for short-term flexible working arrangements, your employer can ask for proof. Examples of proof may be a letter from a support agency, report from a doctor or nurse, report from a school, any court or police document.

Other important things to know:

You have these rights even if the domestic violence happened in the past. These rights do not apply to people who carry out domestic violence. Your employer must tell you in writing if they agree to or refuse your request as soon as possible but within 10 working days. Your employer must protect your personal information.

■ For more free, confidential information, contact:

Employment New Zealand 0800 20 90 20, Human Rights Commission, 0800 496 877, Family Violence Information Line 0800 456 450, Safe-to-talk 0800 044 344.

Always remember, if you, or someone else, are in danger right now, call the police on 111