THE Department of Labor and Employment threatened to sanction employers that do not approve leave applications of female victims of violence.

The Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) law, or Republic Act 9242, grants female employees 10 days’ leave after having experienced physical, sexual, psychological, or economic violence.

Bureau of Working Conditions Director Alvin B. Curada said in an online seminar on Wednesday that employers refusing to grant VAWC leave could potentially face criminal, administrative, and civil action.

Refusal to grant the 10-day leave to victims carries penalties under both the Labor Code and Civil Service Rules and Regulations in the case of public organizations, he said.

Mr. Curada said female employees may apply for multiple VAWC leaves in a year if they face continuous violence. He also emphasized that female employees, regardless of their length of service, are entitled to file for VAWC leave.

He clarified that VAWC leave is not convertible to cash if left unused.

Mr. Curada said VAWC victims must submit a barangay certification to accompany any leave applications. He said employers may not demand additional requirements not indicated in the law.

Victims may also apply for a barangay protection order which “will prohibit the offenders from committing the acts by preventing them from being around the women victims and their children.” He added that the victims may also seek the help of the courts in issuing temporary and permanent protection orders against offenders.

Mr. Curada said that aside from physical and sexual violence, the law also contemplates psychological forms of abuse — or acts that cause mental or emotional suffering, including public humiliation, repeated verbal abuse, and threat of physical harm. Economic violence, meanwhile, happens when “another person prevents a woman from working and exercising her profession, and unjustly controls her property and money.” — Jomel R. Paguian