(Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

Within eight months, the Office of Personnel Management will develop agency guidance on preventing domestic violence committed by or against employees and developing counseling and assistance sessions, leave policies and disciplinary criteria.

Federal agencies will have 120 days following OPM’s issuance to develop or modify domestic violence policies to comply. New or revised policies will take effect after a review by OPM.

In the memorandum, President Obama said domestic violence costs the nation $8 billion per month in health-care costs and lost productivity.

“As the Nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government should act as a model in responding to the effects of domestic violence on its workforce,” Obama wrote.

The memorandum comes as the White House is seeking reauthorization of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which expired in 2011. Though the law was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005, it has become a point of partisan dispute recently. In February 2012, every Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against renewal, because of provisions on immigration and gay marriage.