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Family & Domestic Leave Passes!

November 2, 2022

A decade of campaigning by the AWU and Australian unions has paid off with Federal Parliament passing a Bill to enshrine 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave as a workplace right for every worker.

This is a major workplace entitlement that will literally save lives, and the Bill’s passing is a moment that should be celebrated and remembered.

Successive Coalition governments refused to support the entitlement, but the Fair Work Commission made a preliminary decision in May that paid FDV leave should be extended to 2.7 million workers on industry awards.

The Albanese Labor Government’s Bill will now add it to the National Employment Standards, meaning than 11 million workers – including casuals – will be eligible to take paid leave to support them when they are suffering due to a violent relationship.

AWU National Secretary Dan Walton says the AWU campaigned for years for paid FDV leave for all Australians, including its members.

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

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

“This entitlement will be particularly important for our female members in the aged care, retail, laundries, hair and beauty industries, many of which are casual. These workers will now be protected.”

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 – including casuals – would save lives.

On average, it costs $18,000 to escape a violent relationship in Australia and economic security is a key factor determining whether a person can escape a dangerous relationship.

“No worker should ever have had to choose between putting food on the table and their safety,” he says.

“Economic security is a key factor determining whether a person subjected to violence at home can escape a dangerous relationship, and this new legislation will give people the means to do so without risking their jobs.

“Women who are experiencing family and domestic violence are also more likely to be employed in casual work. We could not afford to 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.”

Employers will bear the cost of the new scheme, which will start from February. 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 a year but can only be paid if they take leave on days they are rostered to work.

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