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Domestic violence support for employees

The Domestic Violence Policy encourages discussion around domestic violence and provides information about workplace supports, including domestic violence leave.

The Strengthening Understanding and Awareness guide helps managers and staff better understand the impact of domestic violence on employees, and how they can support and signpost to specialist support organisations.

Domestic Violence Policy (PDF, 1 MB, 51 pages)

Strengthening Understanding and Awareness guide (PDF, 1 MB, 19 pages)

Who the policy applies to

The policy applies to employees in the HSE and Section 38 organisations. This includes full-time, part-time, permanent and temporary employees.

Domestic violence leave

All employees have the right to take paid leave for domestic violence.

There is no minimum service required to qualify for domestic violence leave.

If you are experiencing domestic violence or supporting a 'relevant person' you may take this leave.

Domestic violence leave enables you to get:

  • medical attention
  • services provided by a victim service organisation
  • psychological or other professional counselling
  • temporarily or permanently relocated
  • an order under the Domestic Violence Act 2018
  • advice or assistance from a legal practitioner
  • assistance from an Garda Síochána

Notice to request leave

While notice to take leave is preferable, you do not have to notify your manager in advance of your intention to take domestic violence leave. This is because domestic violence situations may arise urgently. When you take domestic violence leave, you should notify your manager as soon as you can.

Number of days leave

You are entitled to take up to 5 days' paid leave in any 12-month period.

Taking domestic violence leave for part of a work day counts as 1 day of leave.

You may request other types of leave (paid or unpaid) if you have used up your domestic violence leave entitlement. This may include annual leave, unpaid leave, and parental leave (if applicable).

Information on different leave types and how to apply

Role of managers

  • Promote policy awareness among your team members through induction and team meetings
  • Make arrangements for employees to receive domestic, sexual and gender based violence (DSGBV) training. The HSE DSGBV training is available on HSeLanD
  • Be aware of changes in performance, attendance, and behavior, and decide when and where to initiate a sensitive and non-judgmental conversation
  • Respond sympathetically, non-judgmentally, and confidentially to an employee who discloses that they are experiencing domestic violence. Maintain clear boundaries and do not act as a counsellor or problem solver
  • Ensure that employees are aware of their right to paid domestic violence leave and direct them to appropriate internal and external supports
  • Identify appropriate supports which may include temporary change of work patterns, temporary change in work location and additional workplace security measures. Take note of the safety measures that have been put in place. Make sure that this note is accessible in the event of the employee or their colleagues being put at risk in the workplace
  • Maintain open lines of communication with employees who work remotely as part of a blended working arrangement
  • Keep records of paid domestic violence leave

Role of colleagues

  • Encourage a work environment that does not tolerate domestic violence or attitudes that support it
  • Be familiar with the 'domestic violence policy,' as well as the impact of domestic violence
  • Understand how domestic violence can affect colleagues and the potential warning signs
  • Respond sympathetically, non-judgmentally, and confidentially to a colleague who discloses that they are experiencing domestic violence. Maintain clear boundaries and do not act as a counsellor or problem solver
  • Inform a colleague affected by domestic violence of their right to paid domestic violence leave and direct them to appropriate internal and external supports
  • Never share personal information about other employees, including addresses, telephone numbers or work rosters

Role of HR

If you would prefer to disclose domestic violence to someone outside of your work area you can contact HR.

HR will direct you to specialised support services. They will not attempt to resolve the problem or act as a counsellor.

Workplace health and wellbeing supports

Employee Assistance Programme

HSE Employee Assistance Programme offers confidential counselling and referral services to employees who are dealing with personal or work-related issues.

Professionally qualified and experienced counsellors, bound by the codes of conduct of their professional bodies, provide the service.

You do not need to contact HR or your line manager to use the service. You can phone or email the EAP contact for your area to arrange a consultation with a counsellor. This is known as self-referral. A manager can make a referral for an employee, with the employee’s agreement, if they have concerns for the employee’s wellbeing.

Employee Assistance Programme

Occupational Health

Occupational Health services aim to promote and maintain employees' physical, mental, and social wellbeing.

Occupational Health provides an impartial and confidential advisory service.

Occupational Health


Domestic, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (DSGBV) – Module 1: Awareness

This is the first of 4 e-learning modules for employees in the HSE and Section 38 organisations.

DSGBV training module 1 (awareness) covers:

  • different types of DSGBV
  • statistics and prevalence about DSGBV
  • facts and myths
  • relevant legislation and policies (including domestic violence policy)
  • impact of DSGBV on specific communities

The training is available on HSeLanD. Enter 'DSGBV' into the 'search a module' tool to find the training.

Modules on how to recognise, respond to, and refer victims of DSGBV will be released later in 2024.

Related content

HR Circular 002 2024 domestic violence policy and paid leave


National HR Employee Helpdesk

Phone: 1800 444 925


The helpdesk is open 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday