Skip navigation
We Are Union VTHC
We Are Union Journal
News from the working class
What do you mean, 'Closing the Loopholes'?

How union members in one workplace made history... and will save lives

 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 employers 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.

Finally, union advocates persuaded the Labor Party to take 10 days DFVL to the Federal Election – and campaigned for the policy.

Today, paid family and domestic violence leave becomes a workplace right for full-time, part-time and casual employees across Australia.