Employment Law

IBEC Criticises Government Plans to Introduce Statutory Sick Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence

By October 6, 2022 No Comments

The Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), a business lobby group, has criticised government plans to introduce paid sick leave from work for victims of domestic abuse.

IBEC claims that victims are already entitled to take leave from work for reasons of illness, compassion or force majeure, and that employers should be legally entitled to ask for “proof” of domestic abuse from victims who may potentially abuse such entitlements.

Too Much Paid Leave at Once

The group further criticised government plans to introduce too much paid leave at once, such as statutory sick leave and the extension of parental leave, arguing that the addition of more paid leave would put a strain on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

On September 23rd, the government announced its approval of the publication of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022, entitling those who are at risk of domestic violence to five paid sick days per year.

In March of this year, IBEC submitted a number of concerns to the government over issues it had with the introduction of paid domestic violence leave. In order to “avoid any potential abuse of domestic violence leave”, IBEC said, employers should have a legal entitlement to ask for “proof” of domestic abuse when cited as a reason for taking time off from work.

Avail of Other Statutory Leave

Of domestic violence, it said that such cases should be “dealt with on a case-by-case basis at enterprise level, whereby, in light of the employee’s particular circumstances, it may be more appropriate for an employee to avail of another form of statutory leave including force majeure leave or, where appropriate and applicable, compassionate leave.”

It further added that an economic impact analysis should be initiated to determine “whether the cost to employers will exceed any benefit” ahead of the introduction of paid domestic violence leave.

Gary Gannon, a Social Democrats TD for the Dublin Central constituency, was critical of IBEC’s position today on Twitter, stating that the importance of introducing domestic violence leave was crucial for those impacted by instances of domestic abuse.

“IBEC need to pull back from this fairly vile position: I can’t for a second imagine what type of “proof” they would even deem acceptable in this instance.. surely the word of a woman experiencing abuse is enough. If not, what do they feel is?”, he said on Twitter today.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

Leave a Reply