Domestic violence is union business

Pressure is building on employers in both the public and private sectors to ensure employees have access to domestic violence leave.

Unions from all sectors, including the IEU, rallied at NSW Parliament House on Thursday, 13 October calling on Premier Mike Baird to support the inclusion of domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards, ahead of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Summit on Reducing Violence against Women and their Children in late October.

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said: “On average, 184 incidents of domestic violence are reported in NSW every day, yet there is no basic entitlement for a worker experiencing such violence to access leave”.

“Maintaining your financial independence by being able to keep your job means women have more choices and options when leaving domestic violence situations. To do this we need to ensure their job is secure.

“Our ask of the Premier is modest. We want him to champion the inclusion of domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards and State Awards.

“This will both improve the workplace options for people leaving domestic violence situations while sending a strong message to Australian workplaces and workers,” Mr Morey said.

For many IEU members domestic violence leave is already a reality, as new enterprise agreements in Catholic systemic schools, and proposed enterprise agreements in Australian independent schools, provide for domestic violence leave as part of personal leave entitlements.

The Union, in requesting that domestic violence leave be included in enterprise agreements, is not asking for any additional days of leave.

The Union is simply requesting that personal leave, which is already an entitlement, be made available for another set of circumstances. Women need to be able to access their personal leave entitlements to ensure they are able to attend medical appointments, court appearances and ultimately remove themselves from dangerous situations. Having access to domestic violence leave enables them to do this without jeopardising their employment.

Natasha Flores