OHS and WHS: paying for domestic violence leave

The Ai Group has expressed concern about the Labor party’s announcement to implement 10 days of paid domestic violence leave for all employees should it win Government at the next election.

"Domestic violence is a very important community problem that is abhorrent and cannot be tolerated in any form. However, employers have different capacities to provide support to employees who experience domestic violence in their personal lives,” said Ai Group chief executive officer Innes Willox

"While many large employers have flexible policies to assist affected employees, 'one size fits all' would be extremely problematic for many businesses, especially small ones. Smaller employers often do not have formal policies but they typically adopt a reasonable and compassionate approach when their employees suffer genuine hardships.

"The Fair Work Commission recently rejected a union claim for 10 days of paid domestic violence leave to be implemented through awards, after hearing a great deal of evidence about domestic violence issues. The 10-day quantum proposed by the unions bore no relationship to the evidence in the case – it was simply an amount chosen by the unions for their claim,” said Willox.

"Only a minority of enterprise agreements include domestic violence provisions. Willox went on to say these agreements contain a wide variety of different arrangements, leave and non-leave.

“Most agreements that contain leave entitlements contain less than 10 days of leave, with many providing unpaid leave entitlements, or access to existing personal/carer's leave entitlements,” said Willox.

"Paid domestic violence leave is extremely uncommon internationally. The only country that is known to have paid domestic violence leave at a national level is the Philippines, but the entitlement is not well-known or well-enforced.”


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