The Government has announced the approval of the publication of the Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022, which will introduce a range of measures to improve family-friendly work practices and support women in the workforce.
The Bill will see the introduction of paid leave for victims of domestic violence. Once enacted, those who are suffering or at risk of domestic violence will be entitled to five days of paid leave per year. The Government will also put in place supports for employers to assist them in developing domestic violence workplace policies and to better support employees experiencing domestic violence.
In addition to measures on domestic violence, the Bill contains three key measures to support families and carers, namely:
• A right to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes, for parents and carers
• A right to leave for medical care purposes, both for employees with children up to age 12 and carers
• Extension of the current entitlement to breastfeeding/lactation breaks from six months to two years
Commenting on the Bill, Minister O’Gorman said:
“I am pleased to have secured Cabinet approval for publication of the Work Life Balance Bill. We are committed to ensuring that every child gets the best start in life, and supporting all parents to spend more time with their children in those precious early years is a big part of that.
“Through a wide-ranging suite of measures, it will provide additional flexibility to ensure that parents and carers can be supported to balance their working and family lives.
“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.”
The Government also approved the Domestic Violence Leave Report which includes recommendations on how best to support employees experiencing domestic abuse.
The report makes two key recommendations:
1. That a form of domestic violence leave be introduced; and
2. That supports for employers be put in place to assist them in developing domestic violence workplace policies to complement the leave and better support employees experiencing domestic violence.
The Minister intends to introduce legislative provisions providing for a form of domestic violence leave as Committee Stage amendments to the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill.