Greens Introduce CTH Bill To Implement 10 Days Paid Leave for Domestic Violence

Tuesday 13 February 2018 @ 11.21 a.m. | Industrial Law | Legal Research

On 5 February 2018 the Fair Work Amendment (Improving National Employment Standards) Bill 2018 (CTH) (‘the Bill’) was introduced into the House of Representatives by Greens MP Adam Bandt. The Private Member's Bill aims to provide up to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave for employees.

Key Amendments

The Private Member's Bill proposes to amend the Fair Work Act 2009 (CTH) in order to enable an employee who is the survivor of domestic violence to take up to ten days of paid family and domestic violence leave per year, or two days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave. The Bill adds the definition of family and domestic violence leave to the National Employment Standards (NES).

According to the explanatory statement for this Private Members' Bill, an employee will be entitled to request flexible working arrangements if:

  • the employee engages in eligible family and domestic violence leave activities in connection with an experience of the employee of family or domestic violence;
  • the employee provides care to another person with whom the employee has an eligible family and domestic violence leave relationship, who requires care or support because of any domestic violence experiences of that other person. 

In addition, the employee’s entitlement to paid family and domestic violence leave under this Private Member's Bill will accrue in full at the start of the year, or if the employee’s employment with the employer starts at a later time during the year, at that time.

Mr Bandt stated in his second reading speech:

“According to a report from the Australian Human Rights Commission, women who experience domestic violence are more likely to have lower personal incomes and a disrupted work history, and almost half of the women said it affected their ability to work. The point is that this impossible choice is a false choice. There is another option for these women, if this place has the courage to choose it. We can give another option to millions of women across this country. Ten days of paid family and domestic violence leave gives women the flexibility to take time off work to arrange for their own safety. This year, the parliament can grant what should be a universal right for every single worker in this country - the right to safety.”

Previous Statements on Paid Leave

In December 2017, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stated that he would commit a future Labor Government to introducing ten days of domestic violence leave for employees.

Labor MP Emma Husar said:

"The inclusion of 10 days paid domestic violence leave is the exact kind of courage that we need for those people who find themselves in a situation outside of their control. It will save lives and change the story for people for whom saying 'I love you' was their only mistake.”

However Liberal MP Sarah Henderson  said that Australians could already request flexible working arrangements if necessary and access up to 10 days of paid personal leave in the context of family violence, highlighting that these were "some of the most generous provisions of any country in the world.”

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.

Sources:

Fair Work Amendment (Improving National Employment Standards) Bill 2018 (CTH), second reading speech and explanatory memorandum, as published on TimeBase LawOne.

AAP-SBS Wires, 'Greens push for paid domestic violence leave for workers,' (SBS News), 5 February 2018.

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