The Work Life Balance Bill, which has been approved by the Cabinet, will provide up to five days paid leave for victims of domestic violence which can be used for medical appointments, court dates and family issues.
This will ensure that victims do not lose income, said the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman.
The Minister told Newstalk Breakfast that it was known that victims of domestic violence were at greater risk of slipping into poverty, the new legislation would provide some protection against that.
Mr O’Gorman explained that supports will be put in place to assist employers in developing domestic violence workplace policies, and to better support employees experiencing domestic violence.
A review will be undertaken after two years to determine how effective the new policy has been, he added.
A similar scheme is already in operation in New Zealand, he said where there has been “some take up.” Ireland is the first country in Europe to introduce such legislation.
Mr O’Gorman described the Work Life Balance Bill as “a significant package of measures” which had been designed to improve family-friendly work practices and support women in the workforce.
It will also introduce a right to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes for parents and carers. The right to breastfeeding breaks will be extended from six months to two years, he added.