Domestic violence leave call

McAuley Community Services for Women has joined forces with the ACTU to call on the Federal Government to ensure that domestic and family violence leave is enshrined in all modern awards. It has made a submission to the Fair Work Commission asking for ten days paid leave and two days unpaid leave to be guaranteed through the award.

Jocelyn Bignold, CEO of McAuley, said that research had shown that protection for survivors of domestic violence through the provision of ten days paid leave and an additional two days unpaid leave has wide-ranging benefits for the employees affected by domestic and family violence, their employers and workplaces.

“It was very heartening to learn that the University of New South Wales found that the provision of domestic and family violence leave led to positive outcomes for employers and employees,” said Ms Bignold.

By shielding survivors from the risk of losing their job as they seek legal assistance, find a new place to live and make other time consuming and complex arrangements to ensure their safety and the safety of their families, employers can play a pivotal role in ensuing long term positive outcomes for people affected by domestic violence.

Over the past year, a growing number of employers, state governments – including Victoria – and community groups have included a clause in their enterprise bargaining agreements to provide domestic and family violence leave.

“We all have a role to play in stopping the violence”” said Ms Bignold.

She said that McAuley Community Services of Women has been aware that some women have been performance managed out of their jobs because of reasons that related to their experience of family violence and the impact this had on their productivity at work, including being absent or not being able to focus on tasks.

“Some were unsuccessful in their applications for new jobs because of a poor reference from their previous employer whom they had not disclosed to. Many also ended up managing chronic illness or injury as a result of their experience of family violence.

“We have always said that family violence is a workplace issue for the women themselves, their colleagues and their employers.”

Ms Bignold is due to appear as a witness at the Fair Work Commission hearing in November.