CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses domestic violence.

Finally some good fkn news. The Albanese Govt has introduced paid family and domestic violence leave legislation to parliament. Labor getting things done and fulfilling some of their promises? You bloody love to see it.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke introduced the bill in parliament today. He promised he would do so as his first parliamentary act quite some time ago, so it’s good to see him keep his word.

“Getting out shouldn’t mean losing pay … workers will no longer have to ask, ‘do I have leave to help me getting out?’ The answer for every employee will be yes,” he said.

The bill seeks to introduce 10 days of paid leave for those who are affected by domestic violence situations. Upon taking up the leave, employees will receive pay at the exact same rate they would have if they went to work.

Casual workers will be granted pay for every shift they were offered and accepted, while those who weren’t rostered on will still be able to take the leave, but it will be unpaid.

“Family and domestic violence doesn’t pick and choose whether you’re a casual or permanent worker,” said Burke.

Paid domestic violence leave was one of the recommendations from the Respect@Work 2020 report and Burke said implementing all 55 recommendations would be his priority.

“Any piece of legislation changes people’s lives. This legislation changes people’s safety immediately,” said Burke.

“We haven’t had instances of the entitlement being abused. There are some costs, but the costs are minimal when you think of what are the alternative costs.

“Someone has to choose between their wages and their safety.”

Research shows leaving an abusive relationship can be costly. Victims can rack up thousands of dollars in lost wages, temporary accommodation, moving house (and other associated costs like breaking a lease), transport and healthcare or support.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), which has fought for paid domestic violence leave for workers, estimated the cost to leave could be about $18,000.

ACTU said in a statement in May that legislating paid domestic violence leave would be “just the beginning” on the way to gender equality.

“Addressing family and domestic violence is key for closing the gender pay gap as women who experience violence are more likely to fall behind in their career into low-paid and casual work, or out of the workforce entirely,” ACTU President Michele O’Neil said.

Approximately 40,000 Aussie women and 4,000 men are predicted to access the paid leave scheme.

The scheme is expected to begin on February 1 and be fully operational as of August 2023.

Help is available.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800
Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.

Image: Getty Images