White Ribbon’s Position on Paid Domestic Violence Leave

July 31st, 2017

White Ribbon Australia strongly advocates for the provision of paid domestic violence leave in modern awards. The White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program is a key primary prevention initiative that is driving evidenced positive social and cultural workplace change. In meeting requirements under the Workplace Accreditation Program organisations must evidence provision for domestic violence leave.

This is vital because most women experiencing intimate partner violence are in paid work[1]. Whether happening in a person’s private or professional life, violence against women impacts on women’s health, safety, productivity and capacity to do their work[2]. Paid domestic violence leave supports women experiencing violence and can be an economic and social lifeline for women leaving a violent relationship.

We support the ongoing campaign, led by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), to grant paid domestic violence leave to all workers. This position was ratified by the White Ribbon Australia Board at its meeting on 30 July 2015. We are disappointed that the Fair Work Commission did not approve this plan in its decision handed down earlier this month. However, in approving unpaid domestic violence leave for modern awards, the Fair Work Commission has taken the first step. We commend the ACTU for the success of their campaign to date and will continue to advocate for the social and economic value of paid domestic violence leave for all workers.

[1] McFerran, L (2011) Safe at Home Safe at Work? National Domestic Violence and the Workplace survey, Centre for Gender Related Violence Studies, UNSW p.11

[2] Murray, S. & Powell, A. (2008). Working it out: Domestic violence issues and the workplace. Sydney, Australia: Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1sfroKv p.4