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Unions secure 10 days’ paid FDV Leave for all workers

July 29, 2022

A long-running national campaign by the AWU and Australian unions for paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave is set to be rewarded with a new entitlement that will create a safety net for more than 11 million workers.

The call to include 10 days of paid FDV leave in the national employment standards hit a brick wall with the previous Coalition Government, and under current laws the standard for family and domestic violence victims is just five days of unpaid leave.

But the new Albanese Government has given it top priority, with Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke putting legislation to the new Parliament that will extend the entitlement to all workers – full-time, part-time and casual.

AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said the AWU had campaigned for years for paid FDV leave for all Australians, including its members.

“We have already successfully secured this life-saving entitlement in a number of enterprise agreements,” Mr Walton said.

“It’s fantastic to finally see this extended to all workers, including part-time and casual workers – a move which the AWU always strongly supported.

“Many of our members in aged care, retail, laundries, hair and beauty, are casual, and will now be protected.”

The Fair Work Commission made a preliminary decision in May that would have extended paid FDV leave to 2.7 million workers on industry awards. But Labor’s move to add it to the national employment standards means more than 11 million workers will now be covered.

Employers will bear the cost of the new scheme, which will start from February 2023 for most employers. Small businesses will have an extra six months, until August.

Workers will be able to access the full 10 days as soon as the scheme starts. Casuals and part-time staff will be entitled to 10 days each year but can only be paid if they take leave on days they are rostered to work.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke before introducing legislation to Parliament

This addresses concerns raised by domestic violence advocates who said an accrual system – similar to the way sick and annual leave is calculated – would disadvantage women who were more likely to work part-time or casually, and those who had been with their employer for less than a year.

Mr Walton said that in a country where a woman was murdered by a partner or family member every week, paid FDV leave – for all workers – would save lives.

“The new legislation will give people the means to escape violent situations without risking their jobs,” he said.

“Women who are experiencing family and domestic violence are more likely to be employed in casual work. We cannot leave them behind.

“They shouldn’t have to factor in the financial consequences of taking unpaid leave or losing shifts just in order to be safe.”

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