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“Game Changer”: Millions Of Australians Will Now Be Entitled To Paid Domestic Violence Leave

The historic decision was handed down by the Fair Work Commission on Monday.

A landmark decision will entitle millions of Australians to 10 days paid domestic violence leave. 

The Fair Work Commission handed the historic decision down on Monday—it would affect some 2.6 million people employed under modern awards who would have the option of taking leave after experiencing violence at home. It also sets the precedent for all Australians who are employed. 

Hayley Foster, CEO of domestic and sexual violence support organisation Full Stop Australia, said in a statement that this decision was a “game changer” for victim-survivors of domestic and family assault who are still trying to maintain their employment—a crucial element of social and economic support.

“The Fair Work Commission’s decision confirms what advocates in the sector have been saying for a long time – that family violence is a workplace issue and providing adequate Family and Domestic Violence leave is crucial to ensuring that women can leave violent relationships, maintain their employment and enhance their economic security,” she said. 

(Credit: Getty)

In its decision, the Fair Work Commission noted that while men can, and do experience domestic violence, it still disproportionally affects women—and the pandemic has only worsened this problem. 

“It is a gendered phenomenon… We have concluded that the merits strongly favour a paid FDV leave entitlement.”

In its research, the Fair Work Commission found that one in 4 women over the age of 15 had experienced at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner—that’s compared to one in 13 men who’ve experience the same. 

As it stands, all employees (including those not covered by an award) are entitled to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

Labor is pushing to make that 10 days paid leave for everyone, and the Fair Work Commission’s ruling is a huge step forward in reforming working policies to make that happen. 

Jenny McAllister, Labor’s spokesperson for prevention of family violence, said the party, as well as business groups, unions and victims survivors have been calling for this for a long time. 

“Now the Fair Work Commission does too,” she said via SMH, adding: “Scott Morrison is totally isolated on this issue. He needs to answer the question, ‘why does he still oppose this important reform?'”


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