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Domestic Violence Workplace Policy, Paid Domestic Violence Leave & Protection from Discipline

Domestic Violence Collective Agreement Best Practices

Domestic violence leave is now the law in all provinces as well as at the federal level. Having this leave spelled out in your collective agreement is helpful so that members know it exists and how to access it. It can also help to de-stigmatize domestic violence.

Take a look at your language to determine if it covers domestic violence and/or sexual violence leave. Here are some elements you should cover.

  • Awareness training by Employer on domestic violence and its impacts to all employees.
  • Definition of domestic violence and how it is a workplace issue
  • Dedicated paid leave for employees experiencing family or domestic violence
  • Training and paid time off work for Women’s Advocates, clarifying who is financially responsible.
  • Language that states that information is disclosed only on a “need to know” basis to protect confidentiality while ensuring workplace safety
  • Language that talks about implementing workplace safety strategies, including risk assessments safety plans, training and a timely and effective process for resolving concerns.
  • Counselling opportunities and referrals to appropriate support services for employees who have experienced domestic violence.
  • Protection from discipline, adverse action, or discrimination if their attendance or performance at work suffers as a result of experiencing domestic violence.
  • Domestic violence listed among the eligible grounds for taking sick leave or another form of paid leave.
  • Flexible work arrangements, job re-assignment, job transfer, pay advance, and other accommodations provided to employees experiencing domestic violence.
  • Occupational health and safety law on domestic violence written into the collective agreement.

SAMPLE LANGUAGE

Domestic Violence – Discipline Protection

The Employer agrees to recognize that women sometimes face situations of violence or abuse in their personal life that may affect their attendance or performance at work. For that reason, the Employer and the Union agree, when there is adequate verification from a recognized professional (i.e. doctor, lawyer,  counsellor, shelter worker), a woman who is in an abusive or violent situation will not be subjected to discipline if work performance or absence can be linked to the abusive or violent situation.

Domestic and Sexual Violence Leave Language

The Employer recognizes that employees sometimes face situations of violence or abuse in their personal life that may affect their attendance and performance at work and can present a threat to safety at work.

Workers experiencing domestic or sexual violence, or the threat of domestic or sexual violence, will be able to access 10 days of paid leave each calendar year for attendance at medical appointments, counselling, law enforcement assistance appointments, legal proceedings, relocation needs and any other necessary activities. This leave will be in addition to existing leave entitlements and may be taken as consecutive or single days or as a fraction of a day, without prior approval. This leave also applies to the appointments in connection with the child of the employee who is experiencing domestic or sexual violence or the threat of the same.

The workplace parties recognize domestic violence as an important workplace concern that requires specific services and supports, like safety planning, training, referrals and accommodation.

Confidentiality

All personal information concerning domestic or sexual violence will be kept confidential in line with relevant legislation. No information will be kept on an employee’s personnel file without their express written permission.

Protection from discipline and adverse action

The Employer agrees that no adverse action will be taken against an employee if their attendance or performance at work suffers as a result of experiencing domestic or sexual violence.

Workplace policy

The Employer, in consultation with the Women’s Advocate, will develop a workplace policy on preventing and addressing domestic violence at the workplace. The policy will be made accessible to all employees and will be reviewed annually. It should explain the appropriate action to be taken in the event that an employee reports domestic or sexual violence, identify the process for reporting, risk assessments and safety planning, indicate available supports and protect employees’ confidentiality and privacy while ensuring workplace safety for all.

Workplace Policy – Domestic Violence

  • The Employer should have a workplace policy on preventing and addressing domestic violence at the workplace that is:
    • accessible to all employees;
    • reviewed annually;
    • explains the appropriate action to be taken in the event that an employee reports domestic violence or is perpetrating domestic violence;
    • identifies the process for reporting, risk assessments and safety planning;
    • indicates available supports and a process to protect employees’ confidentiality and privacy while ensuring workplace safety for all.
  • The Employer should provide awareness training on domestic violence and its impacts on the workplace to all employees

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