We’ve done it.
After years of tireless effort from union members and community activists, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has made an in-principle decision that workers covered by modern Awards should have access to 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence leave.
The paid leave is a “game changer” for working women who are disproportionately affected by family and domestic violence. At an average cost of $18,000 to flee, paid leave is crucial to give impacted workers the time and resources they need.
Australian Council of Trade Unions President Michele O’Neil was elated at the FWC result which came despite opposition from the Morrison Government.
“This is an historic win and a generational achievement for millions of women who have fought for this against the resistance of this and previous coalition governments,” she said.
“Already this year 18 women have been killed by their current or previous partner. Access to paid family and domestic violence leave saves lives. No worker should ever have to choose between their income and their safety.”
That’s a whopping 1 in 4 workers who will now have that leave in their Award.
Support is always available
Call 000 if you, a child, or another person is in immediate danger.
1800RESPECT: Call 1800 737 732 if you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence.
No to Violence Men’s Referral Service: Call 1300 766 491 for anonymous and confidential telephone counselling, information and referrals for men.
Kids Helpline: Call 1800 55 1800 for 24/7 counselling for Australian children and young people.
Q Life: Call 1800 184 527 for anonymous and free LGBTQIA+ peer support and referral.
Extending the leave to millions more workers
But the campaign doesn’t end here. The next step is to introduce the paid leave into the National Employment Standards (NES).
The NES are the minimum entitlements for employees in Australia. With the inclusion of paid family and domestic violence leave, another 8.4 million workers could have a safer workplace.
And that’s a decision that must come from the Federal Government.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has already stepped up and committed to providing 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave through the NES.
O’Neil has called on the Morrison Government to show the same level of support for working women.
“Scott Morrison must now match the commitment already made by Anthony Albanese to ensure that any of the 11 million Australian workers covered by the NES who needs to escape violence has paid leave to protect their homes and income while they protect themselves and their families,” O’Neil said.
“The difference between this entitlement being in the award system and the NES cannot be overstated. Failing to include it in the NES would deny access to millions of working people,” she said.
You can make a huge win even bigger
We can celebrate this huge win – and then we’re back the next day to make it happen for even more workers across the country.
The Australian union movement has always treated workers as people first. That’s why union members stand together for better workplace conditions and a better society for all. Always.