Coalition's guaranteed entitlement for family and domestic violence leave one step closer

Release Date: 
4 December 2018
Media release

An historic new law that will enshrine a minimum standard for family and domestic violence leave to all Australians covered by the Fair Work Act has today passed the House of Representatives.

The Coalition Government will, for the first time, extend a guaranteed family and domestic violence leave entitlement to up to six million workers who do not currently have access to such leave.

The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 extends the decision of the Fair Work Commission in March 2018 to grant five days’ unpaid leave to employees covered by modern awards to other employees covered by the Fair Work Act.

Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said the Coalition Government is delivering on its broader agenda to strengthen women’s personal safety and economic security.

“This legislation provides a universal safety net entitlement for workers under the Fair Work Act – regardless of the basis of their employment or the size of their employer,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“Under this legislation, people who need to take leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence will be able to do so safe in the knowledge that their job is protected.”

“The Fair Work Commission decided that five days’ unpaid leave ‘represents a fair and relevant minimum safety net entitlement’.”

The Commission made its decision after carefully considering extensive evidence and submissions from unions, employers and other interested parties. It indicated it would revisit consideration of this issue in mid-2021.

“The Coalition Government has zero tolerance for violence against women, having committed well in excess of $300 million to address women’s safety,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.

In the recently released $109 million Women's Economic Security Statement, Minister O’Dwyer unveiled details of a number of initiatives to support women’s economic independence, including extending early release of superannuation for people experiencing family and domestic violence, as well as expanding the No Interest Loan Scheme run by Good Shepherd Microfinance to people experiencing family and domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.