Members campaign for crucial leave provision for all workers

The We Won’t Wait domestic violence campaign continues to lobby for paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave included in the National Employment Standards. Federation has carried decisions previously to participate in this campaign.

At Unions NSW Women’s Conference, Secretary of the Australian Services Union (ASU) Natalie Lang announced the We Won’t Wait campaign would use the annual United Nations’ “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” to again highlight the campaign.

The 16 days ran from 25 November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until International Human Rights Day on 10 December. Federation’s November Council provided a timely opportunity to continue to support this important campaign.

The aim of the We Won’t Wait campaign is to have 10 days of paid FDV leave included in the National Employment Standards.

After years of campaigning by Federation and other unions, in November 2018 the NSW Government announced that public sector workers, including teachers, would be covered by Determination 3 of 2018, which provides 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave, without being required to exhaust other forms of leave first. The previous provision of five days was only available to teachers who had exhausted all sick and FACS leave, leaving those affected by violence without accumulated balances to cover illness, including for their children. The increased leave became available from the beginning of this year.

Paid domestic violence leave is an important universal right all workers should have access to under the National Employment Standards. Paid work plays a critical role in enabling a worker to leave an abusive relationship. It is important that their workplace has a commitment to supporting them through paid leave to seek help and take action if they are affected by domestic violence. Economic dependency traps people in violent relationships. Securing paid FDV leave will save lives.

Federation contributed to the campaign by submitting a group photo of Councillors holding campaign posters at November Council to a photobook petition coordinated by Unions NSW, as well as members participating in social media activities via #WeWontWaitDV.

An ASU representative briefed November Council on the campaign.