Tesco Ireland has announced that it has introduced five days paid leave for victims of domestic abuse, with immediate effect.
Tesco has, from today (6 March), updated its current ‘Time Off Policy’ to reflect the new provision for victims of domestic abuse.
Highlighting the necessity of providing paid leave for colleagues experiencing domestic abuse, Natasha Adams, CEO, Tesco Ireland, said, "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."
No Minimum Service Requirements
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 noted that it 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.
Not A Female Centric Issue
While launched ahead of International Women’s Day, Adams highlighted that Tesco Ireland is 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," she added.
"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.
The move will make it the first major Irish grocery retailer to introduce this important support for its 13,000 colleagues.