NSW public sector gets paid DV leave

Federation has welcomed the announcement by the NSW Government that it will introduce 10 days of paid domestic and family violence leave per year for NSW public sector employees, including teachers.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward and Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations Dominic Perrottet issued a joint statement on 15 November confirming the provision will commence on 1 January.

The issue of domestic violence leave has been a long-standing Federation campaign in conjunction with Unions NSW and other unions, Women’s Coordinator Leeanda Smith said.

“We have attended rallies, participated in the annual 16 days of Action and attended parliamentary roundtables, while contributing to the Unions NSW discussion paper Reforms to Sexual Harassment Laws,” Ms Smith said.

“Currently the Department of Education’s Determination 4 of 2012 Domestic Violence Leave has the provision of up to five days special leave per calendar year after sick leave and FACS leave has been exhausted.

“So we welcome the announcement by ministers Perrottet and Goward that this will no longer be the case but will seek meetings with the Department to discuss the details of changes to the Determination for schools and TAFE.”

The We Won’t Wait campaign’s focus was to demand that the Federal Government support a minimum 10 days’ paid family and domestic violence leave for all workers by legislating to include it in the National Employment Standards (NES).

Ms Smith said the announcement was a promising start but the campaign would be ongoing.

“Unions NSW has communicated to affiliates that the campaign will continue to demand federally that 10 days paid leave be included in the NES and in NSW to lobby the State Government to extend paid leave to all workers through changes to the victims of crime legislation,” she said.

The ministers’ statement said the NSW Government was ensuring victim-survivors of domestic violence had more resources and extra time to rebuild their lives.

“Paid work is critical in providing financial stability to people experiencing domestic and family violence, which is why the NSW Government is introducing this important reform to leave entitlements,” Ms Goward said.

“Employees may now use domestic violence leave to seek safe housing; attend related medical and legal appointments or organise alternative care and schooling arrangements for their children and will not have to exhaust all other forms of leave beforehand.”