Domestic violence victims face catch-22

Posted on 04/25/2020

Greens MP Adam Bandt says workers should be able to take paid domestic violence leave.Domestic violence victims should be entitled to paid time off work so they can leave their abusers, federal Greens MP Adam Bandt says.

The Member for Melbourne is seeking parliamentary support for his private member’s bill giving workers 10 days of paid domestic violence leave each year.

Women shouldn’t be forced to take unpaid leave, Mr Bandt told the lower house on Monday.

“This impossible choice is a false choice – there is another option for these women if this place has the courage to choose it,” Mr Bandt told parliament on Monday.

Passing his bill could give every worker the right to safety, he said.

In December, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten committed a future Labor government to introducing the 10 days of domestic violence leave for workers.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said domestic violence “should not be a partisan issue”, but ruled out matching Labor’s pledge.

Labor MP Emma Husar said 75 per cent of domestic violence survivors – like herself – have jobs, busting the myth that domestic violence only happens in disadvantaged households.

“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,” she said.

“It will save lives and change the story for people for whom saying ‘I love you’ was their only mistake.”

She backed a motion by her party colleague Sharon Claydon calling on the government to include domestic and family violence leave as a universal workplace right in the National Employment Standards.

But Liberal MP Sarah Henderson said ns already had the right to request flexible working arrangements if they’re experiencing family violence, and to access to up to 10 days paid personal leave while they or a family member deals with the effects of family violence.

“Frankly, these are some of the most generous provisions of any country in the world,” she said.

Domestic violence leave is already available to employees at some organisations, including Medicare, CUB, Telstra, NAB, Virgin , IKEA and Qantas.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.