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Family and Domestic Violence Leave - now a national standard

In 2010, the ASU members at Surf Coast Shire local government negotiated the world’s first paid leave provisions for workers experiencing domestic and family violence.

Union members put forward the clause after learning that fellow ASU members had lost their jobs as a result of their experience of family violence.

At the time, the ASU delegate said:

“To me, this clause is for the thousands of workers that have only one secure thing in their life - a job. If we can give people an opportunity to escape family violence without endangering the one secure thing they have, then we are giving workers and their children an opportunity to stop the misery and live in safety.”

Slowly, more union workplaces started to introduce similar provisions using the ASU template. The conversation grew.

Some workplaces fiercely opposed the leave. Some media outlets poked fun at the union movement for daring to champion such provisions. But union members kept making their voices heard – and sharing their experiences of how the leave could help.

The Victorian Labor government stepped up to the plate, introducing 20 days leave across the Victorian Public Sector. And then Federal Labor came on board, taking a policy to introduce 10 days FDVL in to the NES to a Federal Election. Union advocates campaigned tirelessly to make that happen.

As a result, in 2023 paid family and domestic violence leave became a workplace right for full-time, part-time and casual employees across Australia.

 

Paid family and domestic violence leave:

All employees can access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year. This includes full-time, part-time and casual employees.

Employees must be experiencing family and domestic violence to be eligible to take paid family and domestic violence leave.

The entitlement to paid family and domestic violence leave comes from the National Employment Standards (NES). It’s a paid minimum leave entitlement, like annual leave or paid sick and carer’s leave.

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