The push to introduce domestic violence leave in Australian workplaces has been met with fierce debate.
While more than half of major private sector employers have introduced domestic violence leave in the past year, Australia’s Fair Work Act does not presently provide workers with a right to this type of leave.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is hoping to change this with a submission to the Fair Work Commission, calling for 10 days of paid domestic violence leave, and an additional two days of unpaid leave, in all modern awards.
But powerful voices like those of Minister for Women Michaelia Cash and columnist Miranda Devine are largely critical of the concept.
Cash has previously said domestic violence leave would mean fewer jobs for women, and more barriers to their employment, while Devine caused waves when she suggested the ‘divvie’ has the potential to become the new ‘sickie’.
How does DV leave stop DV, exactly?If anything it encourages it, or at least false reports. “Divvie” the new “sickie”. Another union rort https://t.co/y9mrdu26Ks
— Miranda Devine (@mirandadevine) November 16, 2016
But for Australia’s most well-known domestic violence campaigner, Rosie Batty, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Family violence is a workplace issue,” she tells Mamamia. “Employers and communities must face the reality of the epidemic and respond.”
Batty, whose 11-year-old son Luke was murdered by his father in 2014, has been fighting to address failures in responses to domestic violence in Australia ever since.
Logistically, Batty says, domestic violence leave is hugely necessary. “Women experiencing domestic violence are likely to exhaust their personal leave entitlements through numerous court appearances and having to make statements to police,” she explains.