Mixed reaction to domestic violence leave

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Mixed reaction to domestic violence leave

Proposed laws for domestic violence leave introduced today have received mixed responses, with critics arguing that five days is not enough and that leave should be paid.

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Proposed laws for domestic violence leave introduced by Jobs Minister Kelly O’Dwyer today have received mixed responses, with critics arguing that five days is not enough and that leave should be paid.

The bill introduced today would, if passed into law, require employers to offer five days' unpaid leave to employees impacted by domestic violence. The new Bill proposes an amendment to the Fair Work Act, and introduces a potential penalty if employers refuse a request for domestic violence leave.

The proposed changes align with the new clause introduced into the modern awards by the Fair Work Commission as part of the 4 Yearly Review of Modern Awards. The changes would ensure that the entitlement was accessible to all employees, not only those who to who the awards apply.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) welcomed the proposed laws and the Bill’s assurance that entitlements would be extended to all employees.

"The Fair Work Commission decided employees covered by awards should have access to five days' unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence. Laws to extend this to employees not covered by awards should reflect this outcome," ACCI CEO James Pearson said.

The Australian Industry Group voiced its approval for the Bill, describing the new legislation as “sensible” as it ensures there is no confusion and uncertainty.

“Employers have different capacities to provide support to employees who are experiencing domestic violence. The Bill strikes an appropriate balance, as does the model award clause developed by the FWC,” Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said.

However, the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O'Connor, said the proposed legislation was “ too little, too late.

“Legislating five days' unpaid domestic and family violence leave is not nearly good enough. Labor calls on Scott Morrison and his Liberals to adopt Labor’s commitment to 10 days’ paid domestic and family violence leave in the National Employment Standards.  Nothing less will do.”

See also: Domestic violence leave inches closer

Disclosure: the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and WorkplaceInfo are affiliated via the NSW Business Chamber, which is the owner of this publication. 
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