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National Women’s Council call for domestic violence leave to be paid at full rate of pay

Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The issue is set to be raised during discussions on the Work Life Balance Bill in the Seanad 

Press Release for immediate release 

The National Women’s Council (NWC) today called on government and politicians to ensure that domestic violence leave, due to be introduced as part of the Work Life Balance Bill, would be paid at the full rate of pay, rather than a reduced rate linked to sick pay. 

Sick pay is currently paid at 70% of the employee’s daily salary. This reduced rate of pay would pose a number of significant risks for women experiencing domestic violence.  

NWC director Orla O’Connor said:  

“Leaving a relationship where domestic abuse is present is statistically one of the most dangerous times for women in these situations. Research shows that the risk of increased violence during the separation period is very high. It’s really important that as a society we support women at the time when it’s needed most.”  

Ivanna Youtchak, NWC’s Violence against Women Coordinator said:  

“Separation is not only a very dangerous time for women, but also a period when they can incur significant additional expenses, such as legal fees, new accommodation, or counselling. Many women in abusive situations endure financial abuse or coercive control and frequently don’t have access to emergency funds. Penalising women in this situation at a rate of 30% would be very problematic.” 

Any change in a woman’s financial situation may be noticed by her abuser and could place her in even more danger. For this reason, it is important that domestic violence leave pay be maintained at a normal rate, and that any recording of such payments would be kept strictly private. Such a move would also protect a victim-survivor from any stigmatisation as a result of domestic leave pay being listed on a payslip or payroll.  


For comment: Orla O’Connor, NWC Director and Ivanna Youtchak, Violence Against Women Coordinator  

For more information, please contact Sinéad Nolan, NWC Communications and Social Media Coordinator, sineadn@nwci.ie 

About NWC  

The National Women’s Council is the leading national representative organisation for women and women’s groups in Ireland, founded in 1973. We have over 190 member groups and a large and growing community of individual supporters. 

This year we celebrate 50 years since our foundation with a special calendar of events and campaigns. 

The ambition of the National Women’s Council is an Ireland where every woman enjoys true equality and no woman is left behind. This ambition shapes and informs our work, and, with our living values, how we work.  

We are a movement-building organisation rooted in our membership, working on the whole island of Ireland. We are also part of the international movement to protect and advance women’s and girls’ rights. Our purpose is to lead action for the achievement of women’s and girls’ equality through mobilising, influencing, and building solidarity. Find out more on www.nwci.ie