Vodafone's unique Domestic Violence and Abuse Policy offers employees paid leave so they can make changes at home

Vodafone supports colleagues via Domestic Violence & Abuse Policy

Vodafone supports colleagues via Domestic Violence & Abuse Policy

Prime employer for women, Vodafone, has again proved its strong commitment to employee wellbeing. The company has delivered a unique Domestic Violence and Abuse Policy that enables employees to take time off from work to make important changes in their home lives.

Vodafone offers up to 10 days of paid leave for victims of domestic abuse on a global scale. Described as ‘safe leave’, the policy is being applied in markets across the world, and specialist support is also available to staff who need it.

Vodafone integrated paid leave into its policy in order to help domestic violence victims working at Vodafone to seek professional help as well as to restructure their lives at home. For example, during ‘safe leave’ employees can attend appointments, move house and support their children.

Meanwhile, Vodafone’s human resources managers are receiving specialist training to help them to support Vodafone employees experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

Felizitas Lichtenberg, Group Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Vodafone, told Where Women Work more about the progressive policy.

"Today and even more so in the future, we need to consider the mental and physical health and wellbeing of our colleagues. Our research shows that 1 in 3 working people experience domestic violence and abuse at some point in their career, with 50% saying it resulted in a lower self-esteem, and two-thirds (67%) saying it affected their career," she explained.

"We are proud to have developed a ground-breaking policy in this area to support our colleagues. We encourage all organisations to put in place such a policy to contribute to a step-change in the global landscape."

Vodafone toolkit helps transform victims’ lives

To implement the Domestic Violence & Abuse Policy, Vodafone Foundation published the Toolkit on domestic violence and abuse at work written by Independent Gender Expert, Dr. Jane Pillinger.

Jane describes Vodafone’s policy as a “major step forward” – sending a strong signal to employees that the company takes the issue of domestic violence seriously.

“The work of the Vodafone Foundation in raising the profile of the issue and inspiring Vodafone’s commitment to recognise the impact domestic violence has at work, to respond with support and up to 10 days paid leave for affected employees, and to refer to specialist support, along with training for managers, is a major step forward and sends a strong signal to employees that the company takes the issue seriously,” commented Jane.

The dedicated toolkit offers employees definitions of what constitutes domestic violence or abuse, busts some myths and outlines facts about the topic, explains relevant laws and discusses domestic violence as a relevant subject in the workplace.

A domestic violence victim known as ‘Emma’ (not real name) is quoted in the toolkit, saying “My employer wrapped its arms around me when I needed it most.”

Emma benefitted from a paid leave policy after being emotionally and physically abused by her partner. Vodafone says the time off and support Emma received enabled her to plan and rebuild her life – proving that Vodafone’s policy will be a lifeline for those who need it.

Vodafone study shows domestic violence is a workplace issue

Coinciding with the launch of the policy, the Vodafone Foundation commissioned a study by Opinium to assess the impact of domestic violence and abuse on people’s work-life and career.

The study surveyed 4,715 working women and men across nine countries, and the research found:

  • 37% of respondents had experienced domestic violence and abuse in some form
  • 67% of respondents that had experienced domestic violence and abuse said that the abuse affected their career progression
  • 51% of respondents that had experienced domestic violence and abuse felt too ashamed to discuss their abuse at work
  • When employees do discuss their abuse at work, 53% said that positive things happened as a consequence
  • 33% said that an app that people can download to access help and support would help reduce the impact of domestic violence on the work lives of employees

Information in the toolkit also explains that between 30 and 40% of victims will be in employment at some point in their lives – this means that most workplaces will be affected in some way. Also, the majority of employees affected by domestic abuse say it has affected their work performance and concentration or impacted on their safety at work – therefore potentially affecting their ability to stay in work.

Andrew Dunnett, Director, Vodafone Foundation, said “The result of our research shows the significant impact of domestic violence and abuse on people at work, affecting confidence, self-esteem and career progression. It also reveals how employers can help.”

Free app, Bright Sky, offers international support

Vodafone Bright Sky app

Building further on the important policy, Vodafone Foundation is also expanding its Bright Sky app internationally.

Bright Sky is a free app which enables victims to locate their nearest domestic violence support centre. A questionnaire also helps users assess the safety of a relationship, and the app is designed to log incidents of domestic abuse.

The international roll-out of Bright Sky builds on more than a decade’s work by Vodafone to develop mobile services to support victims of domestic abuse, including the TecSOS technology which has helped more than 100,000 high risk victims of domestic violence in five countries, Easy Rescue which has supported over 300,000 women in Turkey, and gender based violence hotlines in South Africa and Kenya which have connected over 300,000 women to help during crisis.

Be part of a company that cares deeply about employee wellbeing

At Vodafone, women are truly supported to be the best they can be at work with support from the company’s pioneering policies and procedures that offering an extra helping hand.

Enjoy working for such a committed and progressive company - search and apply for your new job with Vodafone today.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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