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Family and Domestic Violence Leave Bill finds support in Broken Hill

By Dylan J. Stone

The Federal government’s Parliamentary Bill to put into law an entitlement to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave will be in force – if passed by the parliament – on the first day of February 2023 and will cover employees who work for large and medium businesses.

Those who work for a small business will be able to access the same entitlement from the beginning of August 2023, so allowing an additional transitional period of six months for small business employers – defined as employing less than 15 employees.

Rosslyn Ferry, from the Broken Hill Town Employees Union, and the Barrier Industrial Council, said, “in principle, we clearly support the introduction of this Bill, because workers should not have to choose between taking leave or fronting up to work when they have been put into that situation.”

The current National Employment Standards (NES) provides for five days unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave (FDVL), but the proposed bill is broadening the scope so it’s also available to casuals who have accepted an offer to work, is to be paid upfront as opposed to being accrued, and is paid at the same rate the employee would have earned had they worked the relevant shifts.

The Bill also extends the definition of Family and Domestic Violence to include conduct by a member of the household, or a current or former intimate partner.

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Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Burke, says “the principle is if someone is wanting to get out, we don’t want ‘do you lose your job or are you going to lose money?’ to be on the list of difficulties that that individual is facing.”

“The reality is, disproportionately people in casual work are in those situations,” said the Minister.

The government’s acknowledgement that casual employees will now be able to access this expanded entitlement is a significant change to how the entitlement is currently managed within the Australian industrial relations system.

Ms Ferry says, “we are looking forward to reviewing the final make-up of the Bill to ensure it achieves its desired objectives.”

The Bill is currently before Parliament.

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