Tesco introduces five days paid leave for victims of domestic abuse

by Gazette Reporter
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Tesco Ireland is to immediately introduce five days paid leave for victims of domestic abuse, making it the first major Irish grocery retailer to introduce this important support for its 13,000 colleagues.

Tesco has updated its current ‘Time Off Policy’ to reflect the new provision for victims of domestic abuse. According to this policy, there will be no minimum service requirements for colleagues who need to avail of this leave, and it can be taken retrospectively or in advance, and in full days or half days, depending on their specific needs.

The new provision is already contained in the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 which was first introduced by Government last year, and which is now in the process of being finalised as it passes through the Oireachtas. While the Bill is expected to be enacted into law later this year, Tesco Ireland has taken the pre-emptive step to roll out the domestic abuse leave provision without delay.

A key feature of this paid leave is that it will be recorded with a specific absence code to safeguard the privacy of the colleague and if taken, it will not be included in the colleague’s overall absence percentage as it is treated separately to sick leave.

Arguably one of the most important features of Tesco’s new leave policy is that it recognises the difficulty and trauma associated with making a disclosure about domestic abuse and therefore colleagues are not required to submit proof of domestic abuse to avail of this leave.

Highlighting the necessity of providing paid leave for colleagues experiencing domestic abuse, CEO, Tesco Ireland, Natasha Adams said: “With immediate effect, we will bring forward the introduction of the new five days paid leave provision for people experiencing domestic abuse. Paid leave is an essential factor in escaping domestic abuse as victims sometimes need to prepare to leave the abusive relationship through attending support services, legal services, and counselling; looking for a new place to live and making necessary childcare arrangements. These preparations cannot always be carried out during working hours. During this extremely difficult process, it is vital that victims feel certain that their employment and financial independence are protected.

While launched ahead of International Women’s Day, we are fully aware that this isn’t a female centric issue; it affects all forms of relationships. We are committed to supporting our colleagues, reflecting their individual circumstances and challenges.  As one of the largest private sector employers in the country, we are proud to play our part in contributing to the whole of society response,” she concluded.

Since 2020, Tesco has partnered with Safe Ireland to highlight the national helpline on its till receipts. 

Safe Ireland, CEO, Mary McDermott said: “We congratulate Tesco on their proactive lead on introducing paid domestic abuse leave for their employees.  We know that this confidential, and importantly paid leave models appropriate support for all victims of abuse nationwide.”

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