Frontline workers have spoken about the absolute necessity of 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave at a Fair Work Commission hearing.
A nurse, a paramedic, a doctor, a community lawyer, and a community sector worker are just some of the individuals who explained it’s importance to accessing critical medical, legal, financial, emergency housing, safety planning, relocation, and counselling services.
The Australian union movement has called on the Morrison Government for years to implement the leave and protect those fleeing family and domestic violence situations.
“10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave for 2.23 million award dependant workers is critical but would only be the beginning,” ACTU President Michele O’Neil said.
“It’s time for Mr Morrison to stand up for women’s safety and ensure all workers have access to this leave in the National Employment Standards.”
Providing the means to escape
The hearings are part of a larger effort to ensure all workers have access to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards.
Ms O’Neil explained that the act of fleeing an abusive environment places a huge financial burden on the person trying to escape.
“Economic security is the primary factor that determines if someone subjected to family and domestic violence remains in, escapes from, or returns to a dangerous relationship,” she said.
At an average cost of $18,000 to flee, unions will not accept anything less than a minimum of 10 days paid leave.
Because women who have experienced family and domestic violence are more likely to end up in unreliable work, their financial burden is further worsened.
This has made the Morrison Government’s refusal to implement the leave even more astounding, particularly as it would provide a crucial avenue of support for 2.23 million award-dependent workers.
Morrison missing in action for yet another “national emergency”
The Morrison Government has not even bothered to make a submission to the hearing.
“1 in 4 women in Australia have experienced some form of family and domestic violence since the age of 15, marking a national emergency that cannot continue to be ignored by Mr Morrison,” Ms O’Neil said.
This has been far from the first time we have seen Morrison go missing on women’s safety.
Whether it’s family and domestic violence, the pay gap or sexual harassment in the workplace, Morrison has walked away each and every time.
His refusal to support the 10 days family and domestic leave has only added to other daily challenges working women face.
“Addressing family and domestic violence is key for closing the gender pay gap,” Ms O’Neil said.
“Women who experience violence are more likely to fall behind in their career into low-paid and casual work, or out of the workforce entirely.”