Local authority Barking and Dagenham Council has signed the Work to Stop Domestic Abuse Charter, and has announced that it will be providing its 2,500 employees with up to 10 days of paid leave to seek help if they are experiencing domestic violence.
The charter, operated by trade union GMB, aims to support employees experiencing domestic abuse, and to ensure that they are not disadvantaged at work.
Organisations that sign pledge to help staff confidentially access support services and information, ensure that reasonable measures are taken to accommodate employees’ needs in the workplace, provide employment terms and conditions that do not disadvantage affected individuals, liaise with other organisations to facilitate the best support for staff and to make sure that employees, such as line managers and trade union representatives, are trained to support staff that may be experiencing domestic violence.
Barking and Dagenham Council formally signed on Tuesday 18 June 2019 at a council meeting. As part of its commitment, the authority has introduced a new leave policy, enabling employees who are either facing domestic violence or displaying abusive behaviours to take up to 10 days of paid leave in order to seek appropriate help.
Councillor Maureen Worby, cabinet member for social care and health integration at Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is an issue that is wider than just Barking and Dagenham, but we are pleased to be able to sign up to the GMB charter and be one of the leading authorities when it comes to showing a commitment to tackling domestic abuse.”
Nell Andrew, national equality and inclusion officer at GMB, added: “We are pleased to see Barking and Dagenham Council lead the way in London, as the first local authority to sign the GMB’s Work to Stop Domestic Abuse Charter.
“This commitment, including paid time off, is crucial to make the workplace is a safe environment for those fleeing domestic abuse and ensuring vital support is available whenever it is needed.
“By signing the charter, as an employer, they are sending a strong message to Barking and Dagenham [employees]: if [they] experience domestic abuse, [they] will be believed, supported and, importantly, not discriminated against because of it in the workplace. We think this policy will save lives.”