Countdown announces Family Violence Policy to support team

25 November 2016: To mark this year’s White Ribbon Day, Countdown has today launched its Family Violence Policy, aimed at supporting its 18,000 team should they be impacted by family violence.

General Manager Corporate Affairs, James Walker, says that while all New Zealanders have a right to be free from family violence in all its forms, sadly this violence is a reality for too many people in our communities.

“As one of the country’s largest employers, Countdown wants to make sure our team have the support to lead a family violence free life.  Our policy aims to help any team member who is impacted by family violence so they can take the time needed to attend court and meet with medical and support services, without being impacted financially at work,” says James Walker.

“We recognise that people experiencing family violence feel vulnerable.  Our store locations and trading hours are by their very nature easily accessible to the public, and in smaller communities it’s not uncommon for many members of the same family to work in a store.  It’s important that our team can ask for help in the strictest of confidence, and that we have practical support in place when it’s most needed,” he says.

The Countdown Family Violence Policy has been introduced across all Countdown supermarkets, distribution centres, processing plants and support offices.  Team members directly affected by family violence are entitled to:

  • Up to 10 days paid leave for full time team (35 hours or more) and 5 days paid leave for part time team (34 hours or less) in any calendar year to be used to attend legal proceedings, meet with support services, relocate, attend health appointments, or attend other activities relating to family violence.
  • This leave is on top of annual leave or sick leave entitlements, and can also be taken as half days.
  • Wherever possible, Countdown will genuinely consider requests to alter days and hours of work.
  • If requested, we will change a team member’s mobile phone number and/ or email address.
  • Free access to Vitae, Countdown’s employee assistance programme, for nationwide confidential counselling and support.

Additionally, any team member who is supporting a person who has experienced family violence may also take up to 10 days per calendar year unpaid family leave to assist that person to attend legal proceedings, meet with support services, relocate, attend health appointments, or attend other activities relating to family violence.

All requests for support are treated confidentially and can be made through a dedicated 0800 number and email address.

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