More than 11 million Australian workers – including casuals – will have access to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave under Albanese Labor Government legislation to be introduced into the Parliament this week.
Our Government is committed to providing the leadership and the investment to help end family, domestic and sexual violence.
Paid family and domestic violence leave is part of that commitment. It is a long overdue change that will save lives.
This change will give workers – overwhelmingly women – the means to escape violent situations without risking their jobs or their financial security.
One woman dies every ten days at the hands of their former or current partner, and police receive a call on average every two minutes in Australia relating to family and domestic violence.
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said it was landmark legislation that would apply to all employees in Australia.
“Casual workers are not spared from family and domestic violence. In fact, women who are experiencing family and domestic violence are more likely to be employed in casual work,” Minister Burke said.
“We cannot leave them behind. That’s why this has to be a universal entitlement.
“The union movement has fought hard for this through the Fair Work Commission. And some businesses have already done the right thing and established this entitlement.
“But we don’t want a system where some workers get paid leave and others don’t – it has to apply to everyone.”
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the Albanese Labor government was committed to removing barriers for people escaping family and domestic violence.
Minister Rishworth said it was the Government’s aim to release the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-2033 in October, which would further the important work in this space.
“One woman dies in Australia every ten days at the hands of their current or former partner. That is unacceptable,” Minister Rishworth said.
“The National Plan will set out a strategy for the next decade with the aim of reducing that number.
“We are prioritising this important legislation to increase paid leave for family and domestic violence and introducing it in the first sitting week. This shows our resolve to removing the barriers faced by those escaping violence.
“We don’t want to see the next generation of men and women grappling with this scourge of family and domestic violence.”
The Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 will be introduced on Thursday.
It will amend the Fair Work Act 2009 by introducing an entitlement to 10 days’ paid family and domestic violence leave every year into the National Employment Standards.
Following consultation with business, the Government has determined the scheme will commence on 1 February 2023 for most employees.
Small businesses will have an extra six months to adjust to the change, meaning the scheme will be fully operational by August next year.
This is a change that could and should have been made years ago. But the Liberal and National government wilfully failed to act, even though it had the support of the business community and a bill would have easily passed Parliament.
We call on the Liberal and National parties to do the right thing now and back this important legislation.
The Government has committed to a range of other new initiatives aimed at addressing violence against women and children. These include new investments for an additional 500 community frontline workers, consent and respectful relationships education in schools, safe and affordable housing for women fleeing violence, and a new Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.