A Scottish Council is set to be the first in Europe to offer additional leave provision to employees who are victims of domestic abuse.
Councillors at South Ayrshire Council will introduce a new 'safe leave' policy that will give employees up to 10 days of paid leave to get the help they need in cases of domestic abuse.
Inspired by New Zealand's Domestic Violence Victims Protection Bill, and supported by all 28 councillors, the measure will now be incorporated into the council's Special Leave Policy.
Cllr Peter Henderson, portfolio holder for resources and performance, said: ‘Across South Ayrshire, we're committed to supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities and working with our partners to raise awareness of domestic abuse and violence.
‘As part of these efforts, we're also leading the way in doing what we can to support our employees who experience such trauma.
‘Giving abused employees access to up to 10 days' safe leave, where they can take the time off they need to access help and support without the worry of it affecting their finances or using up their annual leave, will make a real and lasting difference that could help change lives forever.
‘And just by making that support available, it could help give employees the confidence to ask for help and take the first steps towards a safer life for them and their families.’
Hazel Bingham, manager of South Ayrshire Women's Aid, added: ‘South Ayrshire Council's decision is a massive step in the right direction for people living with domestic abuse and will, I have no doubt, make a long and lasting difference for people at a time when they need help most.
‘Having a compassionate and supportive employer that allows people the time they need to attend vital appointments, access help and advice, and do what they need to do means they don't need to worry about using up annual leave or going off sick.’