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The IEU welcomes Jennifer Westacott's call for universal Domestic Violence Leave (DVL)

On 7 September 2021, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) called for government, business and unions to collaborate on the best model to establish paid family and domestic violence leave. The IEU welcomes Jennifer Westacott's call for universal Domestic Violence Leave as reported in Workplace Express on 7 September.

Introduce paid domestic violence leave for all workers: Westacott

Tuesday 7 September 2021, Workplace Express

 

The BCA has called for government, business and unions to collaborate on the best model to establish paid family and domestic violence leave as a universal employment right. 

BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott yesterday made the case for a tripartite working group on day one of the National Summit on Women's Safety

 

"We think we should work towards this being universal entitlement; it should not depend on who your employer is," Westacott said. 

 

"We know there are huge transition issues here for small business, and they’re going to need extra assistance. 

 

"What we would like to see, coming out of today, is government unions, business, setting up a working group to actually work through how you would do paid domestic violence leave." 

 

Many BCA members, such as the major banks and the professional services and accounting firms, already offer paid DV leave, but the BCA has stopped short of endorsing it being included in the National Employment Standards (NES). 

 

Last week in the Senate, Labor and the Greens sought to amend the Respect@Work legislation to include paid FDV in the NES, but it was defeated by the Morrison Government with support from Pauline Hanson's One Nation (see Related Article). 

Westacott yesterday drew on her personal experience when speaking in support of action on paid DV leave. 

 

"It's important for me." 

 

"I grew up watching my mother put up with things that most people shouldn't put up with in their lives and putting up with it as a kid. 

 

"I think people forget that it is not just a pile of statistics. 

 

"People forget that violence is actually degrading, and humiliating, and for people to just get up and get to work and it's all OK, is very difficult for people." 

 

The FWC introduced five days' unpaid FDV leave into the NES and awards in 2018 (see Related Article) and is now reviewing the entitlement in response to an application by the ACTU (see Related Article).