The Irish government Friday approved publication of a bill to encourage family-friendly work practices and support women in the workforce. A key provisions of The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 gives five days of paid leave per year to victims who are presently suffering or are at risk of domestic abuse. Additionally, the government will render assistance to employers to enact domestic violence workplace policies that can better support employees suffering from domestic violence.
Other aspects of the bill aim to help employees, especially caregivers of young children, establish a balance between family and working professionally. Parents and carers can request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes. Employees with children up to age 12 and carers can seek leave for purposes of medical care. The period of breastfeeding and lactation breaks can also be extended from six months to two years.
Speaking on the domestic violence aspect of the bill, Irish Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman, commented:
Importantly, the Bill will also provide significant assistance to those who are suffering domestic, sexual or gender-based violence. The Government has always prioritised the issue of domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence, and Ireland will now become one of the first countries in Europe to introduce a right to paid leave for victims of domestic violence.
Minister O’Gorman plans to supplement the bill by introducing legislative provisions for leave of domestic violence. According to Irish nonprofit Women’s Aid, one in four Irish women who have been in a relationship have been abused by a partner.