When Personal Crisis Collides With Professional Life: How Does Domestic Violence Affect Maltese People At Their Workplace?
And what can employers do to help?
"For most of my marriage, I was not allowed to work. I became poor because my husband would get into debt, and then we had to use all my savings from before our marriage.
Towards the end, when I knew I wanted to leave, I stood my ground and got a job. I had to lie about my earnings because he was already planning on how to spend them. What was great was that I worked in a highly secure environment with a no mobile phone policy, so he couldn't just turn up at work or call all the time. When things were becoming risky, I asked the bosses to allow me to park my car in the garage because I was afraid he would tamper with it or take it while I was at work. When I had to go into a shelter and couldn't go to work, they gave me a whole month of pay, even though I had to quit my job. I am forever grateful to them."
This is just one of the responses we received on a survey that Lovin Malta conducted with Vodafone Malta
The survey examined the connection between domestic violence and work life of people on the island.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to an understanding workplace, and this can cause further complications.
"It started when I was 20-weeks-pregnant with our second child. I found out that he was cheating, and instead of him apologising, I ended up with a black eye...
I didn't stop working. I just tried to hide it with make-up (I work as a chef). But eventually, I had to stop. I'm a foreigner, with no one to go to in my country, and he's making sure that I can't find a job because he knows I would leave him. I don't have many friends here, I have no chance to speak with people, or to meet anyone new. I have no money to pay a babysitter, so I can't start searching for a job. The only thing that I can do is shut up and wait till my children grow up. He does all the shopping. I never get money, not even for the bus. He broke my phone when I tried to record what he is doing. I feel humiliated every day, sleeping with my four-month-old baby on the couch so he doesn't wake him up when the baby starts crying. If he wakes up before me, he punches me with shoes on my head, because I am 'a lazy fucking bitch' who didn't make him coffee in the morning..."
Vodafone Malta are adopting a Domestic Violence Policy in order to support employees who may be dealing with any kind of domestic abuse.
They're offering 10 days of paid leave - on top of existing sick leave - to any employees who may be experiencing domestic violence or abuse. This will allow them to keep up with medical and legal appointments without missing out on part of their salary or using up all of their leave. To support their people to be safe from violence at work, Vodafone Malta will enable team members experiencing domestic violence to change their pattern of working hours, location of work or duties, as well as also to change their work telephone number and/or email address.
They're also ensuring all the right people are given proper training and resources needed to deal with such sensitive cases.
Vodafone are urging all local companies to start a conversation today to make their workplace a safer place for all
Even if it does not include providing 10 extra days of paid leave.
The truth is, people who work full-time spend most of their weekdays at the office, and in fact over 60% of survey respondents occupied full-time jobs. So it is imperative that individuals feeling unsafe at home are at least allowed to feel safe, supported and comfortable in their workplace.