Domestic abuse: employment rights review announced

Paul Scully, review of employment rights, survivors of domestic abuse, call for submissions, best practise, Vera Baird, Review aims to give employers the confidence and knowledge to support workers affected by domestic abuse.

Business Minister Paul Scully has launched a review of employment rights for survivors of domestic abuse and is calling for submissions from organisations and individuals.

The review will look at how employers and government could provide better support for domestic abuse survivors at work and will examine the availability of flexible working, unplanned leave and other employment needs.

It will also look at ways to improve the workplace for survivors, including how employers can help tackle economic abuse, such as by paying wages to a different bank account or making emergency salary payments available for those in real financial hardship.

It aims to ensure survivors are given the support they deserve within the workplace, whether that is an outlet for reporting abuse, financial assistance or as a source of emotional support.

The review comes as the government’s Domestic Abuse Bill, which will bring into law a statutory definition of domestic abuse that includes, coercive or controlling behaviour, as well as emotional and economic abuse, continues through Parliament.

The review will begin with a call for written evidence from stakeholders, on the specific employment needs of domestic abuse survivors, and how they are met by current employment rights and practices.

As part of the process, the government will explore examples of best practice from employers within the UK and evidence from other countries and how they approach domestic abuse, to see how the UK’s current employment framework could be enhanced.

Written submissions will be accepted until 9 September and should be sent to domesticabuse.employmentreview@beis.gov.uk, answering one of these open questions:

What practical circumstances arise in relation to domestic abuse and work?

What support can be offered in the workplace for victims of domestic abuse?

What is possible with the existing framework?

What does current best practice look like?

What is the potential to do more?

There will also be a series of roundtables, run by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Home Office, with organisations and individuals who wish to share their views directly.

Dame Vera Baird QC, the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, welcomed the review, and said: “It is vitally important we do all we can to raise awareness of domestic abuse across society.

“Everyone should be alert to the possibility that friends, family members and colleagues could be at risk.

“Having a job and spending time away from their abusers can provide a degree of independence which can be crucially important for those suffering abuse.

“Employers should be encouraged to do all they can to ensure that they are aware of the issues, trained to recognise when people may be at risk, and to put measures in place to help and support their employees who may be experiencing domestic abuse in a sensitive and practical way.”

In a scheme in Northumbria, she continued, “around 400 public and private employers agreed to have nominated employees champions in their staff who other employees could easily go to, which is important as some people are uncomfortable reporting directly to their manager or employer.

“I would like to like to see excellent examples such as this become the norm. And I would encourage anyone who can to contribute to this review – which will hopefully lead to positive change is work places everywhere – to do so.”

Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Domestic abuse may occur in the home, but its impact stretches into every aspect of survivors’ lives.

“This review aims to give employers the confidence and knowledge to support workers affected by domestic abuse.

“It will build the evidence base for possible future action by government and employers, to ensure that survivors are properly supported at work.”

Domestic abuse: employment rights review announced