Facebook offering up to 20 days paid leave to victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault

‘We all have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent it,’ says chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg

James Crump
Thursday 18 March 2021 15:17 GMT
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Facebook has announced that it is now offering its employees who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault up to 20 days of paid leave.

The policy, which is now in place for Facebook employees globally, was announced by the social media platform’s chief operating officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg at the Bloomberg Equality Summit on Wednesday.

Ms Sandberg revealed that Facebook staff are now able to take up to 20 days of paid leave if they are or a family member experiences violence or sexual assault.

The COO explained that Facebook made the decision to implement the policy following the rise in reports of domestic violence in countries around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking about the new policy, Ms Sandberg said: “We all have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent it and help those who go through these awful experiences.”

She continued: “It’s a situation where you need paid time off, and not just for yourself but for a loved one,” and added: “This is us really recognising that this is something that affects everyone, including our employees.”

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Following the summit on Wednesday, Ms Sandberg expanded on the details surrounding the policy in a blog post on her official Facebook page.

Ms Sandberg confirmed that the leave can be used for people “seeking medical attention, or support from a domestic abuse shelter, victims’ services organization or rape crisis centre, or to relocate temporarily or permanently if they need to.”

She added that Facebook felt the policy was important, as “companies have a responsibility to step up and take care of their employees’ needs – from maternity and paternity leave, to supporting people during Covid-19 and other times of stress and illness.”

Facebook told Bloomberg that employees will only need to inform their managers that they wish to take paid leave and confirmed that they “will later be identified as domestic abuse or crime victims in internal systems that only human resources managers have access to.”

The social media platform also revealed that police reports will not be required for employees to make use of the policy and confirmed that staff will not have to prove that they are victims.

Bloomberg reported that prior to the announcement, Facebook only allowed its employees who were victims of domestic abuse to take leave that was unpaid.

Several countries around the world, including Canada and New Zealand, already offer 10 days paid domestic violence leave, while multiple US states offer some days paid time off for domestic violence victims.

The Independent has contacted Facebook for comment.

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