(CNN)New Zealand has passed legislation giving victims of domestic violence the right to ask for 10 days of paid leave in addition to sick days and holidays.
New Zealand passes Bill giving 10 days' leave to victims of domestic violence
The bill, which was introduced in 2016, passed 63-57 but still awaits royal assent. It takes effect in April 2019.
New Zealand has some of the highest rates of family violence and intimate-partner violence in the world, according to a report from the New Zealand Herald last year.
"We have a massive social problem measured in lives lost, profound harm done, and significant lost productivity to business. This bill is a win for victims, a win for business and, ultimately, a win for all of us," the legislation's sponsor, Jan Logie of New Zealand's Green Party, said Wednesday during the final debate on the bill.
"Domestic violence isn't restricted to the home. It reaches into workplaces all over our country: stalking, constant emails, attacks, or threats in and outside of the workplace making her late or making her miss work altogether, punishing her for being late," added Logie, who previously worked for the Women's Refuge, a New Zealand NGO that works to prevent and stop domestic violence.
In addition to the right to ask for 10 days of paid leave, not inclusive of sick days and holidays, the bill also allows victims of domestic violence to request flexible working arrangements from their employers.
Speaking to TVNZ after the bill was passed, Logie said she was "beyond delighted to see this law finally become a reality."
"This is a win for victims, a win for employers, and a win for society," she added.
Logie has advocated on behalf of people and families affected by domestic and sexual violence since entering parliament in 2011, initiating a select committee inquiry into funding for specialist sexual abuse and social services.
"Everyone should be able to live free from violence, but too many people find it impossible to keep their jobs while trying to move house, attend court dates, or settle the kids at a new school," she told
The new bill will prohibit discrimination of victims of domestic violence under the Human Rights Act.
"Too many employers are unaware of the extent to which domestic violence impacts their employees and workplaces, and are unsure of how to respond. This bill gives them a framework to do the right thing for everyone, victims and themselves."
Several lawmakers from the opposition National Party had initially pledge to support Logie's bill, but later withdrew their support, arguing it would be too costly for small businesses and would dissuade employers from hiring potential victims of domestic violence. Others argued the legislation did not go far enough.
The Philippines passed similar legislation in 2004, which is believed to be the first of its kind. Australia is considering similar legislation.