Minister for Jobs, Industrial Relations and Women Kelly O’Dwyer is expected to introduce legislation to the lower house this week that would provide for five days unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave in the National Employment Standards.

The Morrison Government’s plan to introduce five days unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave falls far short of providing enough time, or money to ensure workers experiencing family or domestic violence can escape to safety and protect their families.

Leaving an abusive relationship and finding a new, safe place to live costs on average $18,250 and takes 141 hours. The Morrison Government will only grant 40 hours unpaid leave which means that working people who want to leave an abusive relationship will have to try to secure other forms of paid leave or give up their jobs in order to escape violence.

It also costs time and money. It can include having to find new accommodation, hiring a truck or removalists, moving children to new schools or child care, and taking time off for police visits and court appointments. Most of this happens during business hours.

This is why FDV Leave must be paid at a minimum of 10 days to provide for working people experiencing violence.

For a detailed look at structural reform the ACTU is calling for to make sure work is fair for women see attached report.


Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“In 2018, no one should have to choose between their income and their safety. We need 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave.

“The Morrison Government’s five days of no income means working people experiencing violence will be left with no money to pay their legal fees, nothing to help move to a safer home, and nothing to keep paying the bills.

“Workers need time and financial independence to make themselves and sometimes children safe, and this plan falls drastically short of providing it.

“The vast majority of workers experiencing family and domestic violence are women. Morrison and O’Dwyer are out of touch with reality if they think that people facing FDV can afford to take unpaid time off.

“The Morrison/O’Dwyer response is totally inadequate as it denies women the financial independence at the time they most need it.

 “The Morrison Government needs to do much more to help workers who are being killed every week by abusive partners. We know you need paid leave in order to leave an abusive relationship, 10 days paid leave is the minimum.” 


The estimated cost of leaving an abusive relationship:


Truck hire: $260

Driver: $80

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

Total: $18,280  



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 (24 hours): Apply for protection orders and attend court

Total: 139 hours