We have made a breakthrough in the recently-approved Coles Supermarkets Agreement, winning two days of paid domestic violence leave. We are also working hard to negotiate paid domestic violence leave into other enterprise agreements.
The SDA and other unions have been arguing for paid leave for workers experiencing family and domestic violence through a test case in the Fair Work Commission. We recently won five days of unpaid leave.
While the decision to introduce five days’ unpaid leave into all Modern Awards is an important step in the right direction, there is still more to do to secure paid leave.
ACTU case reaps rewards
The work of Australian Unions in the Test Case has resulted in new entitlements for workers covered by Awards including:
- Five days of unpaid leave for all employees experiencing family and domestic violence;
- Unpaid leave extended to casual employees as well as permanent employees;
- Casual and part-time employees having access to the full five days of unpaid leave;
- Family and domestic violence leave able to be taken at any time and not dependent on other entitlements being used up first;
- Five days’ unpaid leave available in full on commencement of employment and at the start of each year after that (it will not accrue from year to year).
The Commission will review the new entitlement in June 2021, and has indicated it will review the provision of paid leave for family and domestic violence.
The SDA will keep all members updated with information as the new entitlements are put in place.
Why unions are involved
Family and domestic violence is a workplace issue because it can impact on your wellbeing and safety at work, as well as the wellbeing and safety of co-workers.
- Violence can occur in the workplace, including harassment in person or by abusive phone calls, texts and emails.
- It can affect a worker’s ability to get to work on time — or even attend work at all.
- Work performance can be affected. potentially leading to disciplinary action and the loss of a person’s job.
- Juggling work and family responsibilities can become incredibly difficult.
Unpaid leave is a significant outcome that will help those in our community experiencing family and domestic violence.
However, the SDA recognises that it is costly for someone to be able to leave an abusive or violent relationship.
Research conducted by the ACTU estimates that finding a new, safe place to live costs an average of more than $18,000 and takes more than 140 hours.
That’s why unions continue to push for paid leave because, without it, it’s almost impossible to leave an abusive or violent relationship.
Ten days of paid leave in the National Employment Standards (NES) will make a difference, helping to ensure secure employment and financial independence.
The SDA continues to argue for family and domestic violence leave to be included in every Agreement we negotiate.