Landmark decision will see millions of Aussies given 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave – as the number of women killed by partners reaches 18 just this year
- Fair Work Commission has granted more than 2.6million workers paid DV leave
- The decision, handed down on Monday, will likely set a precedent for employers
- Aussies employed under modern awards will be given 10 days’ leave each year
Millions of Australians will be able to access 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave under a landmark decision by the Fair Work Commission.
The decision, handed down on Monday, will see more than 2.6 million workers employed under modern awards able to access the leave on a yearly basis at their base rate of pay.
The historic move is likely to set a precedent for Australian employers as alarming statistics reveal the prevalence of domestic violence – which has already claimed the lives of 18 women across the country so far this year.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in six women and one in 16 men, have experienced at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner since the age of 15.
The Fairwork Commission has granted millions of Australians access to 10 days’ of domestic violence leave a year (stock)
In writing its decision, the full bench of the commission noted domestic violence is a ‘gendered phenomenon’, which has soared in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
‘Family and domestic violence is a ubiquitous and persistent social problem. While men can, and do, experience FDV, such violence disproportionately affects women,’ the commission wrote.
‘We have concluded that the merits strongly favour a paid FDV leave entitlement.
‘In comparison to women with no experience of [family and domestic violence], women experiencing or who have experienced FDV have a more disrupted work history; are on lower personal incomes; have had to change jobs frequently; and are more likely to be employed on a casual and part-time basis.’
Hayley Foster, the CEO of sexual, domestic and family violence counselling and advocacy organisation Fullstop Australia, said she was overcome with emotion by the ruling.
‘It’s impossible not to be overcome with joy right now. This is going to be an absolute game changer,’ she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The landmark decision could pave the way for other employers to grant Australians domestic violence leave (stock)
Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said it was a ‘historic win and a generational achievement for millions of women who have fought for this against the resistance of this and previous Coalition governments’.
‘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,’ she said.
The ALP has pledged to introduce the measure, which will be funded by employers, if they are voted into power during the federal election on Saturday.
Under National Employment Standards, all Australian employees are currently entitled to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.
Some major companies, including Telstra and PricewaterhouseCoopers, already offer employees 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave.