Paid domestic violence leave on its way

WRISC Family Violence Support  provides 10 days paid domestic violence leave to all of its employees. Stock image.
WRISC Family Violence Support provides 10 days paid domestic violence leave to all of its employees. Stock image.

A mandate for paid domestic violence leave would save people having to negotiate with their employer and create uniformity between workplaces, a Ballarat family violence service says. 

A union bid for 10 days paid domestic violence leave for all employees was knocked back for a second time by the industrial umpire earlier this month.

In its ruling the Fair Work Commission said it was “not satisfied” of the need to provide 10 days paid domestic violence leave to all employees covered by modern awards.

Some of Ballarat’s biggest employers – including Ballarat Health Services, Federation University and City of Ballarat – already offer comparable schemes. 

WRISC Family Violence Support business manager Anita Koelle said universal paid domestic violence leave was “inevitable” but a mandated scheme was preferred.

WRISC gives employees 10 days paid domestic violence leave which can be used to access support or medical services, go to court, or find appropriate housing.

“It would make it easier if family violence leave were mandated because it takes the need for negotiation away,” Ms Koelle said.

“When the eight hour day was introduced employers kicked up a stink. Once things are seen as usual people accept it.”

Ms Koelle said the policy helped to make WRISC “an employer of choice”. “WRISC decided it was a good business decision to be able to offer paid family violence leave.”

BHS people and culture executive director Fiona Brew said the organisation offered paid family violence leave as well as additional supports to employees.

BHS is also part of the Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence project. 

Federation University offers five days paid domestic leave to all ongoing and casual staff.

The university also offers personal security alarms for its staff and its security officers are able to assist staff develop personal protection plans. 

City of Ballarat acting chief executive Glenn Kallio said the organisation recognised the impact family violence in the workplace, and provided paid family violence leave.