Topic: Advice for employers
Guidance for employees, colleagues and perpetrators.
Do you need to help a colleague?
Julie got support from her employer.
Templates and information on how to develop a workplace policy.
How does domestic abuse impact employees at work?
Guide on developing effective initiatives.
Tips on giving info and support
Ideas on how to promote info about domestic abuse.
When people are living with domestic violence, it affects the whole of their lives, including their work. Domestic violence can have an impact on employees' performance, productivity, health and safety at work, and their attendance record.
How many employees are affected by domestic violence? Total cost of domestic violence By taking action to effectively address domestic violence in the workplace, employers will not only increase employee productivity and morale, and reduce employee turnover, but will also reduce the risk of violence in the workplace and save lives.
In the UK, in any one year, more than 20% of employed women take time off work because of domestic violence, and 2% lose their jobs as a direct result of the abuse. (Walby and Allen, 2004) These figures are likely to understate the true impact of domestic violence on a woman's career: research in the USA has suggested that up to 50% of women have at some stage in their lives had to give up a job because of domestic abuse.
How does it affect employees?
It may affect their productivity, emotional and physical health and well being, and they may also face increased risk of workplace violence. If there are perpetrators of domestic violence in the workplace, this may also affect the business costs and productivity and workplace safety. It is therefore crucial that domestic violence is seen as serious, recognisable, and preventable, and an important issue for business that cannot be ignored.
How does it affect colleagues?
Colleagues may have to cover for other workers while they are off. They may be unaware of the abuse, or not know how to help; or they may have to try to fend off the abuser if he makes unwanted phone-calls or visits; and they may fear for their own safety.
How can it happen at work?
People experiencing domestic violence may receive harassing or repeated phone calls, faxes or e-mails, unwelcome notes left on their cars or unplanned or unannounced visits at work. People may also be stalked, physically assaulted or murdered while at, or travelling to and from, work.
Children using workplace childcare or crèche facilities may also be in danger of abuse or abduction whilst on the premises. Colleagues may also be followed to or from work, or subject to questioning about the woman’s contact details or location.
Effect on employers
Domestic violence affects employers by impacting on the productivity and financial strength and success of the organisation. Organisations also have a legal liability for health and safety. The perpetrator – who may already know his partner’s work times, phone numbers, colleagues, and security entry systems – poses an increased risk of workplace violence.
A DTI research report (Walby S., The Cost of Domestic Violence, Women and Equality Unit, September 2004) shows that the total cost of domestic violence for the state, employers and victims is around £23 billion. Lost economic output accounts for around £2.7 billion a year. This is the cost of time off work due to injuries. It is estimated that around half of the costs of such sickness absences is borne by the employer and half by the individual in lost wages.
How many employees are affected by domestic violence?
Total cost of domestic violence
By taking action to effectively address domestic violence in the workplace, employers will not only increase employee productivity and morale, and reduce employee turnover, but will also reduce the risk of violence in the workplace and save lives.