Fair Work rules for 10 days’ paid domestic violence leave 

17 May 2022

More than 2.6 million Australians will soon be able to access up to 10 days’ paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave under a historic Fair Work Commission ruling on Monday.

The decision, which comes after years of union campaigning, impacts workers employed under modern awards who will be able to access the 10 days’ FDV leave each year at their base rate of pay. Other workers, not covered by the award, are entitled to five days of unpaid leave.

The ANMF (SA Branch), which advocates for 20 days’ paid DFV leave for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing, welcomes the Commission’s ruling and urges the next federal government to extend the leave to all workers. 

Already this year 18 women and 18 children have died from domestic and family violence. 

The Fair Work Commission in its findings said the COVID pandemic “has seen an increase in the prevalence of FDV’’. 

“FDV is ubiquitous. While men can, and do, experience FDV, such violence disproportionately affects women. It is a gendered phenomenon,’’ the Commission found.

“FDV has a significant adverse impact on those who experience such violence. The effects of FDV are far reaching and extend beyond the individual directly affected to their families and the general community.
“Family violence can also exacerbate existing mental health problems and increase the risk of subsequent depression.

“Employees who experience FDV often face financial difficulties as a result, such as relocation costs or becoming a sole parent, and may suffer economic harm as a result of disruption to workplace participation
“FDV has a real and tangible impact on employees and employers in the workplace.

“FDV is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality. Women who are experiencing or have experienced FDV have a more disrupted work history, are on lower personal incomes, have had to change jobs frequently, and are more likely to be employed in casual and part-time work, than women with no experience of violence.’’

The Commission found “employment is an important pathway out of violent relationships. Sustained periods of employment can provide financial security, independence, social networks and increased self-esteem.’’

The ANMF believes nurses and midwives have an important role in identifying people who are victims of domestic and family violence and facilitating their access to assistance and support, while respecting their privacy. Screening should occur in conjunction with an effective system of support following disclosure of domestic and family violence.