THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS
MEMBER FOR GORTON
THE HON LINDA BURNEY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HUMAN SERVICES
SHADOW MINISTER FOR PREVENTING FAMILY VIOLENCE
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON
PAID DOMESTIC AND FAMILY VIOLENCE LEAVE SHOULD BE A UNIVERSAL RIGHT
The inclusion, by the Fair Work Commission, of five days unpaid domestic and family violence leave in Modern Awards is welcome, but it does not go far enough.
Labor has been committed to making paid domestic and family violence leave a universal workplace right, legislated in the National Employment Standards (NES), for many years.
Last December, Labor announced that a Shorten Labor Government will legislate for ten days paid domestic and family violence leave in the NES.
Labor understands that for victims of domestic violence, the combined stress of seeking legal advice and accessing counselling services and medical treatment should not be compounded by the fear of losing their job or the financial disadvantage of going without pay.
Unfortunately, a workplace response to domestic and family violence is not a priority for Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberals. They have taken no action to enshrine unpaid domestic and family leave in the NES, let alone to support Labor’s commitment to paid leave.
Unfortunately, the Liberals see domestic violence leave as nothing more than a cost to business and, in a terrifying display of how out of touch they are, have even argued that it will make women less attractive to employers.
Demonstrating how out of touch they are, in 2016 the Turnbull government prevented approximately 30 public service departments (including the Prime Minister’s), from providing for paid family violence leave in their enterprise agreements.
State governments and many private sector employers already provide paid family violence leave, including Carlton & United Breweries, Telstra, NAB, Virgin Australia, IKEA and Qantas. These employers have paved the way and helped reduce the stigma that often accompanies domestic violence. So too have Australia’s unions, campaigning for paid domestic and family violence leave over many years, which has led to subsequent coverage in Australian workplaces.
The complexity of family violence requires a strategic approach by all levels of government, business, and the community.
Labor calls on Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberals to do better and support Labor’s commitment to 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave, as a pivotal measure to support people to remain in work and get the help they need.