The 5 days of unpaid Family and Domestic Leave announced by the Turnbull Government this evening is a very small step in the right direction but doesn’t provide nearly enough time or money to ensure women experiencing violence can make themselves safe and protect their families.
Research shows that what it takes to leave is significant amounts of time and money: truck hire, removalists, new schools, child care, police and court appointments. All of this in business hours. These are the things that need to be done, and this is why FDV Leave should be paid and at a minimum 10 days to provide for working people experiencing violence.
Leaving an abusive relationship and finding a new, safe place to live, costs, on average, $18,280 and takes 141 hours. The Turnbull Government has granted 40 hours unpaid. This means people wanting to leave violent relationships have to go without to do so.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
“We call on the Turnbull Government to take the extra steps necessary to support people leaving dangerous domestic situations. They need to double the time and make sure it is paid.
“The Turnbull Government s proposal is 5 days of no income. Nothing to help pay the lawyer bill. Nothing to help move to a safer home. Nothing keep the lights on.
“Working women need time and financial independence to make themselves and sometimes children safe, and this plan does not provide it.
“No worker should have to choose between keeping their job and keeping their family safe. We need ten days paid leave.
“The national standards are moving well behind the pace being set by employers on this issue. Some employers are already adopting significant paid leave entitlements,
“The Turnbull Government need to do more to assist women who are being killed every week by abusive partners. While this a very small step is in the right direction, we maintain our expert supported position that you need paid leave to leave, and 10 days paid leave is the minimum. We will continue tell the Government that we won’t wait for 10days paid leave, because women can’t wait.
The full cost of leaving an abusive relationship:
Truck hire: $260
Removalist: $140 per hour
Gas and electricity connection: $100
Phone line: $150
Solicitor: $2,500 initial appearance
Rental property bond and 4 weeks rent: $3,000
Solicitor: $5,000 for court appearances
Child care: $1,800 per child to leave and start new childcare per child
Counselling: $250 per session
New house set up with appliances, food and furniture: $5,000
40 hours: Find new potential new rental properties,
4 hours: Access a refuge
6 hours: Pack up children’s clothes and toys
8 hours Move belongings to new house
8 hours: Find new school / child care arrangements
16 hours: Talk to children’s supporting groups, doctors, counsellors and teachers
8 hours: Change banks accounts and other financial arrangements
16 hours: Go to centrelink and arrange changes or apply for other personal benefits,
3 hours: Meet with police
6 hours: Meet with solicitors
3 days: Apply for protection orders and attend court
Total: 141 hours