Saturday, May 12, 2018

Why are employers bearing responsibility for family violence?

It's refreshing to see National MP Mark Mitchell talking about unintended consequences.

Jan Logie's family violence bill makes employers provide leave for employees to take time off work if they need to leave a relationship. RNZ reports:

When the bill first came up at Parliament it had a strong National Party backing, but following a select committee process in which amendments were made to reduce an employer's say in the matter, the party got cold feet.

Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell said that was mostly because of the impact it could have on small-to-medium sized businesses which, he said, could end up in arbitration or strained for time or finance.
National now plans to introduce a SOP and the Employers and Manufacturers Union supports them. Small enterprises account for 29% of all employees.

But beyond these concerns I am somewhat befuddled by the need for this legislation.

We know that extricating oneself from a violent relationship can be extremely difficult and dangerous. Assuming the violence is on the male side, just after leaving him is when she is most vulnerable. He is insanely jealous at the idea he can't have her and control her any more and this is when he is most likely to harm her. The RNZ article alludes briefly to a particular typical case of this.

He will try to hunt her down. And her workplace is a target. If she is not there, having been granted leave, all well and good (though her colleagues may be exposed to danger when he turns up and is thwarted).

But why would she ever feel safely able to return there? Or how long before she can feel safely able to return? Weeks, months?

Surely it is better to deal with the threatening ex? Isn't that why the nature of protection orders was changed, to allow police greater powers of arrest?

And I'm no fan of an over-empowered police force but find myself arguing for it when faced with unpalatable alternatives.(I could go into a complete rant here about the expanding welfare state; the undermining of stable two parent families and the advent of young males being raised in single mother, serial 'fathers', abusive environments that render them thugs in turn, but will refrain).

It seems manifestly unjust that employers are having to bear this level of responsibility for family violence. Left to me I would oppose the bill.


Kiwiwit said...

It is yet another cost and imposition on employers. Jan Logie and her supporters seem to be too stupid to realise that every cost they impose on employers has negative consequences for employees. Take holiday laws, for example - the increase to four weeks leave plus Monday-isation of statutory holidays in recent years means that all full-time employees have about six weeks of holidays per year, and that is not counting sick leave, ACC and parental leave (which employers must find replacement workers to cover, even if the taxpayer pays). This means that every employer has to have an additional employee for every eight employees (and more if you consider specialist roles and smaller businesses), which means that all things being equal, employers have to pay everyone 12.5% less to cover the additional employees. When you then add the increases in minimum wage, employers find themselves between a rock and hard place and the only alternative is for employers to lay off staff.

david said...

I must have missed the news you are referring to as i dont know what unintended consequences were identified. It does seem to open oportunities for staff rorting the system and give reasons for employers to discriminate in their employment policies.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Sorry David, Omitted the link. Fixed now.

Mark Wahlberg said...

A "unintended consequence" of Ms Logie's solution to the dilemma of dysfunctional relationships, could be to employ security staff at every workplace to discourage anti-social behaviour by disgruntled spouses.
Works well for WINZ. Fifty thousand plus jobs created right there. Every cloud has a silver lining. I could do that, where do I apply?