Unpaid leave will not help people escape abuse

The Morrison Government has passed their bill for five days unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave through the lower house.

The Morrison government’s continuing opposition to providing 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave will leave huge numbers of working Australians unable to leave abusive relationships and protect their families.

Ten days paid leave would ensure that people experiencing family and domestic violence can escape and protect themselves and their families while protecting their jobs.

The Morrison Government’s insistence that business cannot bear the cost of 10 days paid leave, despite the fact that 10 days or more paid leave is already best practice in many sectors, and that 10 days laid leave costs roughly five cents per worker per day, shows just how far this government is willing to go to back in businesses against working people.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“We need 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave now. Five days unpaid leave will not give people enough time or financial security to escape abuse.

“Sixty-three women have been killed so far this year due to family and domestic violence. Ten days paid leave won’t solve this problem but it is a vital step which the government must take to protect women from violence.

“In 2018 no one should be choosing between their job and their safety. The government proposal will ensure that people remain in this impossible position.

“We know that leaving an abusive relationship takes a huge amount of time and money; on average $18,280 and 139 hours according to frontline workers.

“We also know that people who experience family and domestic violence are often forced out of the workforce because they exhaust regular leave entitlements dealing with the day-to-day trauma of abuse and have none left to take when they try to leave. This leads to a loss of financial independence which makes them even more vulnerable.

“The Morrison Government proposal is entirely ineffective and accomplishes none of the things 10 days paid leave would, which isn’t surprising from a government which has always resisted this critical reform.

“This government should stop making cynical political plays and back 10 days paid leave for all workers. This is a reform which will save lives.”