A new bill that could give victims of domestic violence 10 days off work on abuse-related leave could deter businesses from hiring women, a Masterton Women's Refuge manager says.

Green Party women's spokeswoman Jan Logie last month launched The Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Bill alongside Public Service Association (PSA) research showing domestic violence costs Kiwi businesses $368 million a year. The bill would introduce workplace protections for victims of domestic abuse to help reduce this cost.

"Victims of domestic violence often lose their jobs because they may not be able to focus on their work, are unable to show up to work, or are stalked by their abusers while at work," Ms Logie said.

According to Women's Refuge, one in three Kiwi women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetime.


The new bill would give victims flexibility in their working arrangements, protect them from workplace discrimination, and grant sufferers up to 10 days' leave. The PSA has said proper workplace support for victims could mean "significant savings" for businesses.

Wairarapa Women's Refuge manager Lyn Buckley said the bill "could go either way".

"It could be helpful or it could be a deterrent to employers."

Employers were already sympathetic to staff members suffering abuse, and it was usually bosses who sought help from the refuge for their employees rather than the other way around, she said.

Domestic abuse could lead to women losing their jobs, but Ms Buckley hadn't heard of that happening in Wairarapa.

"[The bill] sounds great, but you'll only know a couple of years down the track what it's actually going to do. There are concerns. It could put people off employing women."