Bosses should give abuse victims time off work if they leave partners – SNP

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Westminster has been urged to devolve powers over employment law to Scotland, so it can require bosses to give abuse victims time off if they leave their partner.

SNP activists at the party’s annual conference in Glasgow passed a motion saying the UK Government should either consider introducing such a law, or else hand the ability to do so to Holyrood.

It came after SNP MSP Gillian Martin said that an “abused person shouldn’t have to hope her managers will be understanding” when ending a relationship.

She told how New Zealand had introduce legislation requiring companies to give domestic abuse victims up to 10 days of leave from work, separate from annual holidays, if they leave their violent partner.

Parts of Canada also have similar protections, she added, before saying: “Our Scottish Parliament cannot at present implement this law.”

Ms Martin stated: “UK employment law lets women down the most, and as we all know domestic abuse affects women significantly more than men.

“To further protect people who want a life free from fear it is time to devolve employment law to the Parliament of Scotland’s people and let this party help them again.”

She added: “It takes much more than guts to leave an abusive partner, it takes money and work security to make it possible to see it through.

“The barriers to leaving are many, fear of being found by a partner, fear of retribution in whatever terrifying form that might take, fear of homelessness.

“Fear of losing your job or having your pay docked does not have to be in the mix.

“Leaving an abusive home is an emergency situation, if we remove the possibility of workplace sanctions for abuse survivors by law, we are making it more possible for them to leave.”

Ms Martin continued: “Our responses to domestic abuse have to cut across the whole of society, including the workplace.

“An abused person shouldn’t have to hope her managers will be understanding if she needs leave to deal with the aftermath of a life changing and usually very perilous decision. She should know she has these protections as she walks out the door.”

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