Page Updated: 8 December 2023
The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 (“the Act”) was enacted on 04 April 2023. Section 7 of the Act introduces domestic violence leave. The entitlement to domestic violence leave of 5 paid days in a 12-month period came into operation on 27 November 2023.
Domestic violence is defined under the Act as violence or threat of violence, including sexual violence and acts of coercive control committed against an employee or a relevant person in relation to an employee.
The domestic violence may have been committed by:
- a spouse or civil partner of the employee or relevant person;
- a cohabitant of the employee or relevant person;
- a person who is or was in an intimate relationship with the employee or relevant person; or
- an adult child of the employee or relevant person.
The categories of relevant person in relation to an employee, who an employee may take domestic violence leave to support are:
- An employee’s child (including an adopted child) or dependent;
- An employee’s spouse or civil partner;
- A cohabitant of the employee; or
- A person with whom the employee is in an intimate relationship.
Taking domestic violence leave
An employee is entitled to take up to 5 days paid domestic violence leave in any 12-month period. The leave cannot be taken in periods of less than one day. Depending on the employer and the contract of employment, an employee may be able to take more than this. The purpose of the leave is to assist the employee or the relevant person; to relocate or to seek medical attention; to obtain counselling; to obtain victims services; to obtain a court order; to seek legal assistance or assistance from An Garda Síochána.
An employee must tell their employer as soon as possible that they need to take domestic violence leave, but no notice period is required as the need to take domestic violence leave may not be foreseeable. Immediately on their return to work, the employee must confirm in writing to their employer the date of commencement and duration of the leave. This confirmation should be signed by the employee. No statement of facts in relation to the leave is required.
An employer must acknowledge the confirmation but may not request further information regarding the facts surrounding the taking of the leave.
Rate of Pay
An employee is entitled to be paid by their employer while on statutory domestic violence leave. The Parental Leave Act 1998 (Section 13AA) (Prescribed Daily Rate of Domestic Violence Leave Pay) Regulations 2023, set out the prescribed daily rate of pay payable to an employee who needs to take time off because of domestic abuse. This is effectively the employee’s normal daily rate of pay.
The employer must keep records of all domestic violence leave taken by employees. Section 15 of the 2023 Act amends section 27 of the Parental Leave Act 1998 to provide that records must be held for a period of 3 years.
Employment protections and disputes
Where a dispute arises with an employer regarding an employee availing of domestic violence leave; where the employee was refused domestic violence leave or was penalised for taking or proposing to take domestic violence leave, the employee may make an application to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in line with section 21 of the Parental Leave Act 1998 for a decision by an Adjudication Officer.
An Adjudication Officer may award the leave or compensation or both. Compensation shall be just and equitable but not exceed 20 weeks remuneration.
Please read the relevant legislation in relation to any potential claim and consult independent advice where appropriate and ensure that statutory time limits are met.
Supports for employers
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth DCEDIY with Women’s Aid have developed a policy template and guidance notes for employers to support employers in developing workplace policies on for domestic violence leave. Please visit the following link DV at Work - Domestic Violence at work.
A copy of the relevant Acts may be viewed or downloaded here -