A highly anticipated leave scheme in Australia promises to give millions of workers several days of paid domestic violence leave.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has introduced new laws related to the leave. The move has been identified as one of the 18 priority legislations for the Labor government.
New domestic violence leave scheme
Under the scheme, 10 days of paid domestic violence leave will be given to more than 11 million workers, including an estimated 2.4 million people working in casual employment.
In an interview with ABC Radio, Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke discussed why the government is adopting the new leave scheme.
“The principle is, if someone is wanting to get out, we don’t want ‘do you lose your job or are you going to lose money?’ to be on the list of difficulties that that individual is facing,” Burke said.
“The reality is, disproportionately people in casual work are in those situations.
“If you’re facing family and domestic violence, you are more likely [to] be in insecure work.”
The government will implement the new leave scheme for most workers in February 2023. It will then become fully operational by August next year.
Employers will be the ones to shoulder the cost of the paid domestic violence leave. However, small businesses that might not be able to bear the cost immediately will be given six months to adjust.
Burke pointed to Woolworths and the Commonwealth Bank as examples of companies that have already adopted their own family and domestic violence leave schemes.
Read more: Australia's paid domestic violence leave
Amanda Rishworth, Minister of Social Services, explained why it’s important to remove the barriers that prevent people from escaping domestic violence.
“One woman dies in Australia every 10 days at the hands of their current or former partner. That is unacceptable,” Rishworth said.
“We are prioritising this important legislation to increase paid leave for family and domestic violence and introducing it in the first sitting week.”
Rishworth said the new leave scheme shows their resolve to eliminate the hurdles faced by those fleeing violence.
Michaelia Cash, spokesperson for workplace relations for the opposition, said there is a likelihood that they would support the new leave scheme, but clarified that they would still have to review the bill.
“Our inclination is to support this ... based on the Fair Work Commission’s model,” she said. “But the devil is in the detail, and I do need to have a look at the legislation.”