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Executive Summary for July 27th

In this week’s wrap-up of gender equality news: New Zealand introduces paid leave for domestic violence survivors, and Seattle enacts a bill of rights for domestic workers.

Published on July 27, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

New Zealand Enacts Domestic Violence Leave Legislation

New Zealand has become the second country in the world to provide paid leave for survivors of domestic violence. Under the new legislation, people who have suffered family violence will be given 10 days off work at full pay to leave an abusive partner and find a new home.

Advocates of the law say paid leave allows women to escape violence without suffering economically. Green Party MP Jan Logie, first proposed the bill after years working in women’s shelters. “It doesn’t make sense to tell victims we want them to leave and then force them into poverty when they do,” she said.

The new law will come into force in April next year, after which those claiming domestic violence leave will also be able to take on flexible work conditions without having to provide proof that they are being abused.

The Philippines was the first country to provide paid domestic violence leave in 2004, while Australia provides five days of unpaid leave for survivors.

Seattle Becomes First U.S. City to Legislate for Domestic Worker Rights

Lawmakers in the northwestern U.S. city of Seattle have passed the country’s first bill of rights for domestic workers in a major city. The bill guarantees that nannies, cleaners, cooks, caregivers and other domestic workers are given a minimum wage, adequate time to rest and political representation.

Under the new law, workers are given meal breaks every five hours and rest breaks every four. Those who cannot take breaks – such as childcare wokers – will be compensated monetarily for the extra time. Employers are also prohibited from confiscating passports. Casual workers are not covered by the new legislation, which will come into effect in July 2019.

Domestic workers, the vast majority of whom are women, have traditionally been excluded from U.S. labor laws, and suffer higher rates of wage theft and sexual harassment than other workers.

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