Legal Obligations vs DVFREE Recommendations

Following is a high level comparison between employer obligations under the Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act 2018 and other relevant legislation, and DVFREE recommendations.

For more detail about DVFREE recommendations, download the Guidelines for a DVFREE Workplace.



10 days paid domestic violence leave per year

Domestic Violence - Victims Protection Act 2018:

  • eligible after 6 months
  • employer may require proof

DVFREE recommends:

  • eligible from start of employment
  • no requirement for proof

Flexible Working

Domestic Violence - Victims Protection Act 2018:

  • for domestic violence related reasons, may request short term flexible work arrangements up to 2 months
  • must request in writing
  • employer must respond within 10 work days
  • employer may require proof
  • reasons for non-accommodation of requests limited to set criteria

Employment Relations Act 2000:

  • may request flexible work arrangements (hours, days, or place of work) from first day of employment
  • request may be for temporary change to terms and conditions of employment or a permanent change which may involve changing their employment agreement
  • employer must respond as soon as possible, and not later than one month after receiving the request
  • reasons for non-accommodation of requests limited to set criteria

DVFREE recommends:

  • for domestic violence related reasons, may request flexible work arrangements for any length 
  • may request this by talking to a First Responder in the employer organisation
  • employer must respond within 2 working days 
  • no requirement for proof
  • requests to be accommodated if practically possible, for as long as required, especially for safety reasons
  • for employees perpetrating domestic violence who want support to change, offer flexible working to enable attendance of specialist community non-violence programme

No Adverse Treatment

Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act 2018 amended Human Rights Act 1993:

  • employers may not discriminate against employees or job applicants on basis of believing employee affected by domestic violence

DVFREE recommends:

  • same, stated clearly in staff policy

Workplace Safety

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015:

  • employers must proactively identify risks to (physical and mental) health and safety and do what is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise risks.
  • no specific requirement to identify or manage risks relating to staff affected by domestic violence

DVFREE recommends:

  • employers proactively mitigate risks related to staff affected by domestic violence by following DVFREE recommendations for policy, procedures, information for staff, and training.
  • for employees at risk of domestic violence during work, offer/provide comprehensive workplace safety planning
  • consider disciplinary action for employees who perpetrate domestic violence using work time or resources 
  • follow up workplace incidents of domestic violence with offer to support victimised staff

Employee Privacy

Privacy Act 2020:

  • personal information obtained for one purpose shall not be used for any other purpose unless necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to life or health

DVFREE recommends:

  • ensure that employee information about a personal experience of domestic violence is kept private and confidential except when there is a serious threat  to anyone’s safety. When risk is imminent, ring Police on 111 immediately. 
  • paid domestic violence leave to be recorded in a way that does not specify domestic violence and protects employee privacy
  • any records relating to an employee’s experience of domestic violence (including related workplace incidents) to be stored securely with access limited to people who need to know



See Guidelines to a DVFREE Workplace for additional recommendations

“'It stands out to me that nearly half of people experiencing violence at home are likely to talk to a work colleague. That makes it all the more important that our employees know we are an organisation that is approachable and will be understanding through tough times.  Our DVFREE Tick is an ongoing commitment to our people that we will show care in their time of need.”

— Catherine McGrath - Westpac NZ CEO

“The DVFREE customer response training reinforces being the bridge to help our customers, opens our eyes to signs and provides real life examples that we can apply to our job - it was very practical, with great facilitation.”

— IAG Care Team member training evaluation

“With specialist support from Shine, we are able to provide our people with a work environment where those affected by domestic violence are able to and feel supported to speak up, are treated with dignity and empathy, and where safety and privacy is protected."

— Catherine Dixon - Suncorp New Zealand Executive General Manager People and Culture

"It is our duty as a responsible employer to ensure our people feel safe and supported at work. Shine’s DVFREE programme has given us the knowledge and tools to be confident in how we respond to any of our people who experience domestic violence.”

— David Stevenson, General Manager, Parliamentary Service

“The model we have developed with Shine has given our managers tools to deal with some of the issues faced by our people. The systems we have put in place are already working." The Ministry of Justice was the first state sector agency awarded the DVFREE Tick. CE Andrew Bridgman urged other public sector organisations to follow its lead.

— Andrew Bridgman, Chief Executive, Ministry of Justice