If you’re experiencing domestic violence, use this information to make a plan that works for you.
Paid recovery leave increasing
The number of Australian workers with access to paid domestic violence leave is increasing, according to a report in ‘The Age’ newspaper.
Approximately seven per cent of the national workforce now have access to an extra 20 days a year of paid leave in their workplace agreements. Typically, family violence leave allows those experiencing domestic violence to work flexible hours, take paid days off or have their email address and phone numbers changed to protect them from harassment. Unionists and activists are now campaigning to have paid family violence leave made a universal workplace right.
The article reported that:
Ludo McFerran, a campaigner against family violence who has been behind the push, has been meeting unions and activists from Europe and Canada and said there had been strong interest in pursuing it.
“Australia is being applauded internationally,” she said.
More than 20 Victorian councils have agreed to the paid leave, as has the New South Wales public service and big private-sector employer Queensland Rail. So far it is found mostly in local government or the public sector but Ms McFerran said more private-sector agreements were imminent.
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten commended employers that had signed up to the leave.
“It is pleasing that where society silently ignored domestic violence, we are increasingly willing to speak out against its perpetrators and support its victims. This should extend to the workplace,” Mr Shorten said.
“If you don’t oppose domestic violence and support women, then you are part of the problem.”
Ms McFerran said her group was pushing to have family violence leave included in the national employment standards by next year.
Emerge is delighted to see that up to 700,000 Australian workers can now access paid domestic violence leave through their workplace agreements. Domestic violence exacts a huge toll on the community and the economy in terms of absenteeism at work, lost productivity and staff turnover.
In 2004 Access Economics estimated the annual cost of domestic violence in Australia to be $8 billion. The workplace may be one of the few places a woman experiencing domestic violence can escape her perpetrator and find support. Paid employment also assists women to leave violent relationships by enabling them to become financially independent.