Staff-led campaign sees tech company announce paid family violence leave

Staff-led campaign sees tech company announce paid family violence leave

policy
SAP has announced a new policy for Australian and NZ employees affected by family and domestic violence, following a staff-led initiative including by employees affected by such violence.

The European multinational software corporation managing business operations and customer relations has introduced the new supporting and awareness measures to both assist victims and create awareness around the issue. 

The employees who initiated the movement are members of the SAPs Business Women’s Network. They pushed for 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave, free counselling and mandatory family and domestic violence training for managers. Previously the statutory requirement of 5 days unpaid leave was the only option. They believed it wasn’t enough. 

Debbie Rigger, Head of Human Resources, SAP Australia and New Zealand said in a statement, “In Australia, the issue of family and domestic violence is all too common and seeking help can be a difficult and scary experience. We believe we have a responsibility to support our staff when they need it most.”

“Anyone suffering from family and domestic violence shouldn’t have to worry about work,” Rigger continued. “This time will allow staff the time to seek medical attention, counselling, legal advice, support or new accommodation in a time of need. Family and domestic violence comes in many forms – from violence to coercive control – and can impact people from all backgrounds. We hope this creates an environment where staff feel supported to speak up and seek help.”

The policy also offers all employees who face family and domestic violence the ability to change their work arrangements – including hours, patterns and location of work. Employees who need to provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family because of family and domestic violence  are also entitled to the flexible work arrangements.

As part of the policy, any employee experiencing family and domestic violence and their family can access free, confidential counselling through SAP’s Employee Assistance Program. New training has also been developed which all managers will be required to attend, to help employees understand family and domestic violence, including how to spot the signs of people who may be suffering and ways they can offer support or assistance.

The policy also entitles all employees who face family and domestic violence, or who need to provide care or support to a member of their household or immediate family because of FDV, the ability to change their work arrangements – including hours, patterns and location of work.

SAP have also announced they will be running an awareness campaign across all offices to promote the new policies, and to assist people to understand the signs of family and domestic violence and where they can seek help if they need it.

Riggers said she is “proud that SAP has listened to its employees and introduced extra measures to support any staff who experience family and domestic violence.”

In Australia, 1 in 4 women have experienced emotional abused by a current or previous partner and 1 in 6 have experienced physical and or sexual violence by a current or previous partner. The policy changes at SAP indicates the power of an internal women’s networking group within a large company to create change. 

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