All businesses should embrace the introduction of life saving policies, say Countdown

As one of the first companies in New Zealand to embed a Family Violence Policy across its business, Countdown has today shared the positive impact its policy has made for its team ahead of the government’s Domestic Violence - Victims’ Protection Act coming into effect on 1 April.

Countdown joined the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Hon Iain Lees-Galloway, Under-Secretary Jan Logie and representatives from Shine and the Human Rights Commission at its Cable Car Lane store to discuss why the new law is so important.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability says its Family Violence Policy was introduced in November 2016 and has so far actively supported 28 team members impacted by family violence. Eighty-six per cent of team seeking support have been female and more than 100 paid days off have been provided to team using the policy. 

The range of support Countdown has provided to date also includes free counselling sessions, including on-site; variations to hours; relocation; longer-term leave and facilitating where to seek extra support.

“Countdown recognises what a significant issue family violence is and as a large employer we wanted to do something meaningful to support our team and show leadership on a really important issue.    We are committed to providing a safe and supportive workplace at Countdown, and we care about our team and their families - so implementing this policy was just the right thing to do,” says Kiri Hannifin.

“Countdown’s Family Violence Policy has not only made a real difference to some of our team members’ lives, but it’s opened up an incredibly important conversation across our business and through training, given our people skills on how to approach and talk to team members who are impacted by family violence.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we have a real chance to remind all women of their value in our businesses, communities and homes.  The more openly our country’s leaders and businesses talk about family violence, the easier we make it for people to ask for our help. That’s why the new Act is so important, not just because of the additional support it gives New Zealanders but because it sends a real signal to all of us that we each have a role to play,” she says.

Countdown’s Family Violence Policy provides access to additional paid leave for team members impacted by family violence, ensures free counselling is available to those who need it, and provides practical support such as days off, changing phone numbers, rosters or transfers to accommodate changes of circumstance as needed.

We are very willing to share our policy, knowledge and learnings from the last couple of years and we encourage other businesses to think strongly about what they can do to support their team who might be impacted by family violence,” says Kiri Hannifin.

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