The Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 (Paid FDV Leave Bill) was introduced to the Parliament on 28 July 2022. It is now the subject of inquiry by the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee. The ACTU makes this submission to that inquiry.
A staggering 2.2 million Australians have experienced violence from a partner since the age of 15 and 1.2 million Australians have experienced violence from another family member. The statistics are even more alarming for women – 1 in 4 women have experienced violence from a partner since the age of 15 and on average one woman a week is killed by a current or former partner. Family and domestic violence is estimated to cost the national economy $20 billion per annum or around 1% of GDP.
For over a decade unions have campaigned for, and won, the right to take paid family and deomstic violence leve in workplaces across the country. As a result, over six thousand employers, including all State and Territory Governments, provide the right to some 1.2 million workers through union won collective agreements. But too many workers are still not able to access this crictial leave entitlement.
Passing this Bill would effectively ensure every employee in Australia – over 11 million of them – would have the right to take up to ten days of paid family and domestic violence leave. It will mean that workers impacted by family and domestic violence, including those escaping a violent relationship – nearly always women – don’t have to choose between their safety and their livelihood. This law will save lives.
The ACTU encourages the Committee to:
1. Support the passing of the Paid FDV Leave Bill.
2. To recommend that the Commonwealth Government fund an education and awareness raising campaign developed and rolled out in partnership with employer organisations and unions, to ensure effective implementation of the entitlement.