Bookmark and Share

Unions push for paid domestic violence leave for all Australian workers

13 August 2015 By ACTU

The ACTU will pursue its claim to make paid domestic violence leave a workplace right in the Fair Work Commission today.

150424-family-friendly-work800pxwThe ACTU is pushing to make 10 days paid domestic violence leave for employees an award condition, which would benefit more than six million Australian workers.

Having access to domestic violence leave gives victims of family violence time to attend court appearances and related appointments, seek legal advice and make relocation arrangements.

More than 1.6 million Australian workers are now able to access domestic violence leave through union negotiated workplace agreements.

The ACTU's claim before the Fair Work Commission seeks to extend this condition to all employees.

Deakin University in Victoria is among those employers to recognise the role they can play in tackling family violence by offering their employees paid domestic violence leave.

The ACTU commends Deakin's Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander for her strong stance on the issue and urge other employers to follow suit.

Unions are disappointed some employer lobby groups will object to the ACTU's domestic violence leave claim at today's hearing in the Fair Work Commission.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Housing Industry Association (HIA), Australia Industry Group (AIG) and National Farmers Federation (NFF) have lodged responses to dismiss the ACTU's claim on technical grounds.

Australian Unions are urging these employer groups to do their bit to help tackle family violence by withdrawing their objections and instead supporting the ACTU claim to give millions of Australian workers access to domestic violence leave.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

"Being able to access domestic violence leave allows a woman to keep her job and be supported at work so she can escape a violent relationship."

"Domestic violence is a systemic issue involving a wide range of social, economic and cultural factors that must be addressed in the public sphere – including workplaces."

"It's fantastic to see employers like Deakin University recognise the role they can play in helping to tackle the scourge of family violence."

"Evidence shows having an income gives women choices, stops them becoming trapped and isolated in violent and abusive relationships, and enables them to care for their children and provide them with a safe home environment."

"Employers are often very ready to say they are part of the community and we expect this sentiment to prevail in relation to supporting domestic violence leave."

"Unions are urging employer groups to do their bit to tackle the scourge of family violence by withdrawing their objections to the ACTU claim to make domestic violence leave an award entitlement and support the claim instead."

Media contact: Kara Douglas, 0418 793 885 or Carla De Campo, 0410 579 575


UPDATE - domestic violence leave win for Victorian public sector workers

18 August 2015: Late last week we updated on the union push for paid domestic violence leave for all workers in the article above and this week we are so pleased to add to this news that Victorian public sector workers are to have access to this leave to help victims maintain stable employment.

Kudos to the Victorian Govt for taking the submission of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission seriously. They argued that all state employees should have access to domestic violence leave to the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence and the Vic Govt listened - read about it here:

The ASU & other unions will continue to fight in the Fair Work Commission to have domestic violence leave available to all Australian workers. Watch this space!

More information

Employers try tricky legal tactics to quash new support for family friendly work arrangements and domestic violence leave, 24 April 2015

Push for new workplace rights on pregnancy discrimination and domestic violence, 16 February 2015

Unions push for the right to domestic violence leave, 28 October 2014

Contact Details
Name: Linda White, ASU Assistant National Secretary
Telephone: 03 9342 1400