By Sarah Byrne
A SUITE of resources to address violence in the workplace was launched by the Business Coalition for Women (BCFW) on 6 August at a breakfast event in Port Moresby.
Aimed at making the workplace safer for women and more supportive of employees impacted by domestic violence, the suite of resources launched includes a range of practical solutions and training support to address gender violence in Papua New Guinea businesses.
Included in the suite of resources is the BCFW Model Policy on Family and Sexual Violence in the Workplace, training and consulting services to support implementation of the model policy and a legal guide on family and sexual violence for employers in PNG.
BCFW Patron and Newcrest Mining board member Lady Winifred Kamit officiated the launch of the products and services.
A panel discussion was held at the launch with business leaders sharing their experiences regarding the negative impact of gender violence on businesses in PNG.
Speaking as part of a panel session was Origin Energy PNG general manager Lesieli Taviri, NCS managing director John Gethin Jones, Steamships Group general manager of corporate affairs David Toua and Digicel PNG chief executive Maurice McCarthy.
Topics discussed included productivity, absenteeism, security costs, staff turnover and litigation.
The Family and Sexual Violence Model Policy outlines the need for businesses to develop a supportive workplace where victims feel safe to come forward and seek support.
Acting as a guide for employer responses to employees whose work life is affected by family and sexual violence (FSV), the policy aims to provide a guide for business to facilitate a safe workplace for all employees.
A 2015 report by the UK-based Overseas Development Institute on gender based violence (GBV) in PNG said on average employees experienced 7.8 incidents of GBV in the past 12 months, with women experiencing an average of 9.4 incidents in the past year.
As a result of GBV on average each staff member lost 11.1 days of work per year, according to the report.
The Overseas Development Institute’s GBV report found that for one company the cost of staff time lost as a result of GBV was almost K3 million, representing 9 per cent of the company’s total salary bill.
Speaking to PNG Resources, BCFW chair of the addressing violence working group and capacity building specialist at Anitua Group, Linda Van Leeuwen stressed the importance of businesses addressing gender violence as a workplace health and safety issue.
“As businesses we care about our employees and we care about the bottom line. Taking a structured approach to gender violence is a great way to act on both concerns,” she said.
“Employees feel supported; the business retains its staff and meets its legal obligation to provide a safe workplace. Everyone wins.”
In addition, the BCFW has announced the launch of its flagship course on business leadership, a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management.
Launching in October, the BCFW in collaboration with WINGS Education created a competency-based accredited training course which targets emerging female talent serving in or preparing for their first management roles.
Comprising four core units and eight elective units, the business leadership course includes 18 face to face training days over six to nine months, and has take home assignments and workplace projects.
Topics covered include effective communication, workplace relationships, leadership skills, risk management, application of digital solutions and implementation of operational plans.
As part of the course, PNG business leaders will conduct a presentation for trainees and the course can be used as a stepping stone to a Diploma in Leadership and Management.
Formed in 2014, the BCFW is a registered membership organisation that aims to promote positive change for women and business in PNG.
Comprised of four working groups, the BCFW’s focus areas are on addressing gender violence, developing gender smart workplaces and practices, promoting women in leadership and expanding opportunities for women in supplier and distribution networks
The coalition has over 45 member companies and has a secretariat based in Port Moresby.