10 days DV leave now accessible for millions of Australians

10 days DV leave now accessible for millions of Australians after landmark decision reached

Michele O'Neil

In a landmark decision handed down by the the Fair Work Commission yesterday, millions of Australians will be afforded 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave should they need it.

The entitlement will be accessible on a yearly basis at the base rate of pay to 2.6 millions people employed under modern awards, and is expected to set a precedent for all employed Australians.

The bench, headed by president Justice Iain Ross, deemed that financial support was imperative to support employees in leaving violent relationships, and came at a minimal cost to most employers. It considered that 10 days’ paid FDV leave was “an emerging industrial standard in bargaining”.

“We accept that the introduction of paid FDV leave is not a panacea for the devastating effects of FDV,” it said.

“But it will provide a critical mechanism for employees to maintain their employment and financial security, while dealing with the effects of FDV.”

The leave will apply to permanent employees only.

The bench disputed claims from the Master Grocers Association’s that paid FDV leave would act as a disincentive to employing women, deeming the argument “mere speculation”, and noting that such conduct would be wilfully unlawful.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), described the landmark decision as a historic step forward for workers’ rights and “a generational achievement for millions of women”.

It added that the next federal government, determined on Saturday, would need to decide whether to expand the paid leave to all workers under the National Employment Standards, covering an additional 8.44 million workers.

“Scott Morrison must now match the commitment already made by Anthony Albanese to ensure that any of the 11 million Australian workers covered by the NES who needs to escape violence has paid leave to protect their homes and income while they protect themselves and their families,” ACTU president Michele O’Neil said.

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