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The Workforce Partnership Council (WPC) is a tripartite social partnership structure of the trade unions, employers and Welsh Government covering the devolved public services in Wales and the forum for cross-public services workforce matters.
The WPC is committed to promoting equality in the work place and recognises the profound impact domestic abuse can have on an individual. For this reason the WPC supports the provision of paid leave to members of staff across the devolved public services who are experiencing domestic abuse and are asking all devolved public service organisations to make an express commitment to provide paid leave for staff experiencing domestic abuse, where appropriate, in their special leave or domestic abuse policies.
The impact of domestic abuse and the importance of paid leave
The effect of domestic abuse is wide ranging. Members of staff may need time off work to access legal or financial advice, to arrange child care or alternative accommodation and to seek medical advice. For this reason the WPC believes it is important for devolved public service organisations in Wales to have policies to support staff experiencing domestic abuse and to make provision for paid leave where appropriate within these or special leave policies. The WPC believes that such policies provide survivors with peace of mind, support and gives them vital reassurance that they will not be financially penalised as they deal with the effects of domestic abuse.
The WPC recognises that there are many organisations across the devolved public services in Wales which provide paid leave to help support members of staff experiencing domestic abuse and it wishes to acknowledge the good practice that exists. For example, the Joint Council for Wales (JCW) Joint Statement on Domestic Abuse, the GMB’s Work to Stop Domestic Abuse Workplace Policy and UNISON’s Domestic violence and abuse: a trade union issue – A UNISON guide.
However, it is also the case that some organisations, whilst expressing a willingness to support those experiencing domestic abuse, do not have specific policies in place. The WPC wishes to encourage all devolved public services organisations in Wales to adopt an express commitment to support staff experiencing domestic abuse, by incorporating the provision of paid leave where appropriate, within their special leave or domestic abuse policies, so that staff are provided with the assurance of financial support should they be affected by this issue.
The WPC recommends devolved public service organisations in Wales commit to workplace policies that offer a flexible and sympathetic approach to staff experiencing domestic abuse including the provision of paid leave where appropriate so that policies:
- Allow members of staff experiencing domestic abuse to apply for paid leave as part of a range of options offered to support them
- Recognise that the provision of paid leave is an important and positive option in supporting the survivors of domestic abuse
- Reassure affected members of staff that they will not be penalised as they deal with the wide ranging effects of domestic abuse. This can include, but is not exclusive to, accessing legal, financial or medical advice, child support or alternative accommodation.
Reg Kilpatrick, Director for Local Government, Welsh Government
Martin Mansfield, General Secretary Wales TUC, WPC Trade Union Side Secretary
Chris Llewelyn, Chief Executive Welsh Local Government Association, WPC Employer’s Side Secretary