One control tactic used by abusive partners is disrupting their partners’ professional life: harassing them on the job or interfering with child-care plans so they can’t get to work. Estimates of survivors of intimate partner violence being bothered in some way by their abuser at work (eg. harassing phone calls) range from 36% to 75% and most survivors of intimate partner violence report that violence negatively affects their work performance. It also affects their ability to get to work, through physical restraint for example or physical and emotional violence that requires them to take time off and ultimately has led to job loss for 27% of survivors in Canada.

For many survivors in crisis, having a job can be a lifeline. This is why a survivor’s job is incredibly important because it is essential to their ability to create a new life. But, intimate partner violence is a hard thing to bring up with an employer, particularly if the victim feels they could lose their job at any time. Many employers believe that violence in intimate relationships is an individual issue and is none of their business. 90% of domestic violence incidents will be disclosed to a co-worker (Ontario Safety Association 2009.) As a result many survivors feel like the violence they’re experiencing is somehow their own fault. Paid leave policies like the ones passed in Manitoba and Ontario send a message to survivors that “we care about you, believe you and it’s not your fault”.

Here in BC, there have been changes brewing with the Employment Standards Act with the provision of leave for workers who need to take time away from their jobs after facing domestic or sexual violence. In previous standards, people had no ability to take time from their jobs to find the solutions needed to make life safer for themselves and their families unless their employer agreed to the leave.

In Canada, in addition to providing unpaid job-protected leave, most provinces and the federal government require employers to provide paid leave for victims of domestic or sexual violence ranging from 2-5 days. BC has a provision of unpaid leave and is negotiating to add a paid component.

We at BWSS are pleased to be collecting feedback pertaining to the province of British Columbia’s decision-making regarding changes to the Employment Standards Act to provide paid leave to domestic and sexual violence survivors. We are asking that you consider participating in this survey to help us advise the province on our positions as to what will best support the people our organization is serving, and DV and SV survivors everywhere.

Click below to participate and you will be entered into a chance to win $50 gift certificate to My Sister’s Closet, social enterprise of BWSS!

Deadline to participate is 5 pm on September 27, 2019. 

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