Vodafone launches family violence program

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A growing number of Kiwi companies are putting policies in place to address family violence and today, telecommunications firm Vodafone became the latest to join the ranks.

CEO Russell Stanners confirmed this morning that all 3,000 Vodafone employees are now eligible for a range of practical support – including up to 10 additional days of paid leave per year – if they are ever affected by family violence.

As well as the specialised leave, the company will also allow employees to alter their work patterns – whether that’s hours, location or duties – or pursue flexible working.

“The workplace can be one of the only safe places that victims of family violence can access support and information,” said Vodafone’s HRD, Antony Welton. “We believe it is vital for our business to be equipped and ready to help.”

The company – which will also help staff change phone numbers and email addresses if requested – confirmed the benefits will be available to those directly affected as well as anyone supporting a victim.

“These measures may help save lives,” said CEO Stanners. “It will make it easier for people to leave violent relationships, and stay in employment. It will also keep victims safe at work from their abusers.”

According to New Zealand’s national centre for research on family violence, there were 110,114 police investigations into family violence in 2015. The same year saw 5,264 applications filed for protection orders.

“We know that the impact of family violence is not isolated to the home, nor does it discriminate based on gender, age, education or social status,” said Stanners. “Family violence affects us all, and workplaces have a huge role to play in addressing this issue.”

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