Up to six million Australians will have access to a guaranteed entitlement of five days’ unpaid family and domestic violence leave following the passage of legislation in the Parliament yesterday.
Federal Member for Flinders, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, said the Coalition Government’s legislation enshrines family and domestic violence leave as a workplace right in the National Employment Standards for the first time.
“It is a terrible reality that family and domestic violence are sadly part of the lives of some Australians,” Minister Hunt said. “Those stuck in domestic violence situations need all the tools available to them to break the cycle of abuse and improve their own lives.”
“The Coalition Government has zero tolerance for family and domestic violence, and these legislative changes ensure that those stuck in these horrific situations do not have to worry that their careers, the very thing that can help establish a new and better life for them, will be placed under threat because of their courage to break the cycle of violence.”
“Australians who need to take leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence will be able to do so safe in the knowledge that their job is protected.”
The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 extends the decision of the Fair Work Commission in March 2018 to grant five days’ unpaid leave to employees covered by modern awards to other employees covered by the Fair Work Act.
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said these reforms further strengthen the Fair Work Act for all Australians.
“This historic change to the law will enshrine a minimum standard for family and domestic violence leave to all Australians covered by the Fair Work Act,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“Regardless of the basis of their employment or the size of their employer, this change will provide a universal safety net entitlement for workers under the Fair Work Act.”
The Commission made its decision after carefully considering extensive evidence and submissions from unions, employers and other interested parties. It indicated it would revisit consideration of this issue in mid-2021.
This change follows the recent announcement of additional initiatives to combat family and domestic violence in the $109 million Women’s Economic Security Statement in November.
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.