The Tauranga-based Caci clinic will be joining in with more than half of the Caci clinic franchise network in implementing a new policy which sees victims of family violence receive paid leave.
Effective immediately, the move comes eight months prior to the roll out of the Victims Protection Bill legislation.
The Caci franchise network collectively has over 400 team members, 388 of whom are women. Most of the business’s customers are also women.
Starting with the company’s head office, staff who are victims of family violence will receive 10 days paid leave as part of a wider family violence policy.
Caci clinic’s sister company, Skinsmiths, will also adopt the policy later this year in the UK where there is currently no similar legislation.
Tauranga clinic owner Toni Johnson says with the new policy it shows our staff and their families that we are 100 percent in support of the policy and they will know that there is always some available to assist them if needed.
“New Zealand, unfortunately has a very high rate of family violence. Being in a predominantly female industry, it’s very important to stand up and help our team and customers deal with the issue of family violence.
“The workplace can often be one of the only safe places that victims of family violence can access support. I want everyone to know that we are on board with the policy and want to ensure our staff are happy, safe and cared for,” says Toni.
While family violence victims are not all women, and not all aggressors are me, the statistics show that women are overwhelmingly on the receiving end of harm. One in three women will experience physical and/or sexual violence inflicted by a partner in their lifetime.
“We’re committed to being part of the solution, not a spectator. As an employer in a business predominantly made up of women, this is an important issue to step into, not away from,” says Anna Campbell, Caci’s Global CEO.
Anna Campbell has been championing family violence support for a number of years in the business community and led the first female ambassador for White Ribbon, a charity which aims to end men’s violence toward women, Campbell continues to advocate for action by businesses on the issue.
“Domestic violence can have devastating effects both at home and in the workplace and we believe that businesses shouldn’t wait for such policies to be in law in order to take action,” says Anna.
“Whether it’s and home or in the workplace, providing our people with a safe environment where they can get the help they need following any experience of family violence is a fundamental right. We’re here to support them through the most difficult of circumstances.”
“Paid leave is only part of the support we are offering. Education and confidentiality are essential, so as part of our policy, we’re also investing in a comprehensive training programme that will educate our team members on how to recognise the signs of domestic violence, arm them with the knowledge of how to support a victim or user of family violence and where to refer them to help.”
After seven years of lobbing, Green MP Jan Logie’s proposed legislation of giving victims of domestic violence 10 paid days of leave was successfully passed in July and the Victims Protection Bill will be in effect in New Zealand from April 2019.
Caci’s family violence policy addresses the core elements of the Victims Protection Bill to provide the best possible support to its team members. Ten days of paid leave can be used for medical and support appointments, legal proceedings and any other support activities, while the allowance of team members to request short or long-term changes to working arrangements is a possibility for employees too.
The business is also committed to confidentiality; records will remain private and leave will be shown as normal pay. It will also have the right to refuse paying a salary into an unnamed bank account.
White Ribbon campaign manager Rob McCann praises Anna for offering its employees the opportunity to take paid time off work to take care of themselves, which is crucial in these circumstances.
“We know that Anna Campbell and her team have been working on developing the right policy for some time and towards becoming White Ribbon accredited. We really applaud the business’s commitment to supporting those employees experiencing any form of family violence.”
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the developed world. One in three women in NZ will experience domestic violence and one in six men will experience sexual violence. Even more alarming, almost 80 percent of these cases go unreported as so few victims are willing to discuss the issue.