VICTIMS of domestic abuse or sexual violence who work for Carmarthenshire Council are to be given up to 10 days off as paid leave.
This can be taken in one go or intermittently, based on needs, for example to allow the employee to attend police interviews and find somewhere safe to live, and doesn’t affect their annual leave.
The paid leave was part of a revised domestic abuse, domestic violence and sexual violence policy approved by cabinet.
Introducing the report, Cllr Philip Hughes, cabinet member for organisation and workforce, said: “Unfortunately, as we know, there is an unwelcome increase in domestic abuse being reported in the media.”
The council, he said, would do its utmost to keep employees safe.
Cllr Hughes said the revised policy raised awareness of the “devastating impacts” of domestic abuse, domestic violence and sexual violence, and provided advice for staff. Employees, he added, would be encouraged to challenge inappropriate behaviour.
The report before cabinet said domestic abuse could be emotional, controlling, coercive or economic abuse, as well as physical. Men could also be affected.
“There is evidence that there has been an increase in incidences of domestic abuse and domestic violence as a result of many employees having to work from home where escape routes, or time apart from an abuser, may be dramatically curtailed.
“The workplace is often a sanctuary or place to seek support for those experiencing domestic abuse and there have been limited opportunities for some to reach out for help.”
The policy said managers should pay particular attention to employees who work remotely or from home.
It added that perpetrators who worked for the council would be reminded their actions were serious and could lead to a criminal conviction. Conduct by perpetrators outside work may lead to disciplinary action.
Council leader Darren Price said:
“This is a very important subject and I’m pleased to see it before us today.”