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.
Yes, as a survivor of severe domestic violence from an intimate partner in my previous relationships i am sure a paid leave is needed to give time and financial stability to women who lost all the support.all self esteem and belief in themselves cause job at these times is the very least and the last you can think of
I would like to contribute to this conversation as a small business owner. While I’m an enthusiastic supporter of this concept, there needs to be recognition of the financial realities to (especially) small employers. Moving the financial hazard of dealing with abuse from the survivor onto the employer isn’t a great idea. This should be handled through Employment Insurance.
I see all women! as usual in these cases but it doesn’t mention just for women.
I have seen in child support it is all one sided towards the women and men are not considered whatsoever and furthermore, if a women claims a man physically assaulted her the man is charged regardless.
I’ve had 3 sons involved in physical violence by the woman and then charges brought against them even though there was evidence to the contrary.
So who is going to pay for the woman to stay at home? Did her employer beat her up or abuse her?
Is the government going to pay for this.
Instead of squandering other people’s hard earned money, how about healing those who need healing instead of all the band aides.
My mind reels with hope and joy; my ‘what-ifs’ fall away; and, this world feels a bit safer to trust with my children. A hand up in life shouldn’t be a gamble; safety, health, clarity and refocus ought to be, in all ways, a possibility for everyone.
I’ll be waiting for more news on this issue.
I submitted my survey but have further thoughts:
Occasionally, someone will lie and commit fraud to get free days off. Corruption happens amongst any population though, from senators to contractors, and is impossible to completely rule out.
Taxpayers would have to pay for some people’s misuse of the program, but it would be legitimately used far more and literally save people’s lives. It could help children from witnessing so much violence and abuse and reduce levels of that trauma affecting their life.
The fact that some twisted people will always commit fraud within any system means that some people would file fraudulent police reports just to get free pay. I would hate to know someone had a criminal record just because their untrustworthy partner with a personality disorder wanted paid days off worries me a bit.
The vast majority of survivors using this program to stay safe would be women, and many, many would be Indigenous women. Rates of violence and sexual violence is so high in our communities that this support for working Indigenous women would literally help reduce the rates of ‘missing and murdered Indigenous women’.