Family violence has no business at work | IMPAC health and safety

24 July, 2018  |  News

The New Zealand Human Rights Commission has combined forces with some of the country’s largest employers to publish a model workplace policy on family violence.

The employers (The Warehouse Group, ANZ NZ, Countdown, Vodafone NZ, Fonterra, Ricoh New Zealand, and EY) and the Human Rights Commission are encouraging other firms to take up the policy and have launched the new website, Business Working to End Family Violence, to help.


rawpixel 652593 unsplashThe information you need to put a policy in place is all on the new website. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.


The cost of family violence

Family violence can have a substantial cost to businesses. According to the new website, it’s estimated that the 2014 cost to New Zealand businesses was $328 million. This is the cost in lost productivity, cover for sick days, and recruitment/retraining when victims are unable to keep working.

Dr Jackie Blue, the Human Rights Commission’s Equal Opportunities Commissioner, says “there could be around 500,000 family violence victims in New Zealand. More than 40% of them are in paid employment. The workplace is a powerful and effective place to intervene.”

About the policy

Dr Blue explains that the model policy is a template that offers employers three levels of choices for a family violence policy. By choosing among the best-practice options, every employer can create a family violence policy that works for their staff and workplace.

She goes on to say, “family violence doesn’t respect boundaries between home and the workplace. Ensuring that the affected employee is safe and supported at work is good for productivity and morale. It will also help break the cycle of abuse by providing safe haven where employees can gain confidence and take steps to break the abusive cycle.”


What employers can do

The Human Rights Commission encourages employers to set a family violence policy that’s right for their business and works for their staff.

The model policy is available on the new website, in the form of a downloadable toolkit which takes you through how to use the template step by step, and resources such as workbooks and an example policy. 

The website also has detailed tips on getting a plan going, starting with displaying resources in your workplace and talking to your local family violence organisations.