The Greens welcome passage of the Bill to give employees access to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave. It is a long overdue reform that will save lives.
But a lack of new funding in last night’s Budget means frontline response and prevention services will struggle to meet the expected increase in demand.
Lines attributable to Senator Larissa Waters, Greens Leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women
“The Greens have championed paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave for years. Paid leave will help victim-survivors, who are predominantly women, to escape abusive relationships, protect themselves and their children, and rebuild their lives.
“But paid FDV leave cannot succeed if advice and support services for victim-survivors and employers don’t have funding to meet demand. The long-awaited National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children has now been released, but without any new funding commitments.
“The women’s safety sector has repeatedly called for a $1B per year investment to ensure funding meets demand. And yet the government’s budget response was to re-badge and re-shuffle previous funding commitments, adding only partial indexation and a fraction of the workers needed, with the Labor government instead choosing tax cuts for the rich and subsidies for donor mates.
“The Greens moved a number of amendments today to strengthen the FDV leave scheme and prevent discrimination against employees who disclose family and domestic violence to their employers.
“We know it can take several attempts and over 140 hours to escape an abusive relationship. We have called for employees to be able to request extra unpaid leave when 10 days is not enough. This would provide the best possible chance for women to keep themselves and their children safe.
“Experts made it clear that dedicated FDV leave is essential to cultural change and removing the stigma of disclosing. The shame is on the perpetrator alone, so we did not support Senator Tyrell’s proposal to rename it emergency leave. But we were pleased to support amendments preventing employers recording FDV Leave on pay slips and confirming that any information disclosed must be kept confidential. This has strengthened the Bill and we will keep working to remove barriers to accessing this life-saving leave.
“We also moved amendments to ensure the Bill recognises the full range of situations people experiencing FDV may need to navigate so victim-survivors are not denied leave because their safety relies on something not in the list of eligible activities.
“While our amendments did not get support today, we will push for the important issues they raised to be revisited in the statutory review of the Bill. Victim-survivors deserve a scheme that provides protection and support when they need it most.”