Victims of domestic violence would receive 10 days of paid leave under an elected Labor government, Bill Shorten has announced.
The Opposition Leader made the election promise to guests attending a White Ribbon Day breakfast event at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.
On Twitter, Mr. Shorten said the stress of seeking legal advice, accessing counselling services and medical treatment “should not be compounded by fear of losing your job”.
From an employer perspective, Labor says the change would encourage workforce retention and increase business productivity.
Labor acknowledged a number of Australian businesses who already offered their workers domestic violence leave, including Medicare, CUB, Telstra, NAB, Virgin Australia, IKEA and Qantas.
Last month, the Australian Council of Trade Unions urged the Turnbull Government to back growing calls for 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave under the National Employment Standards, in order to give women the support they need to escape when they are experiencing violence.
“There’s now the Greens and the Opposition supporting changing the National Employment Standards to assist all workers experiencing domestic violence,” said ACTU National Campaign Coordinator Kara Keys.
According to the ACTU, Family and domestic violence costs the Australian economy $12 billion per year.
To fund 10 days paid leave it would cost 5 cents per worker per day, and most importantly, it will help save lives.
“Research shows that escaping an abusive relationship costs $18,000 and takes 141 hours, almost all during business hours,” Ms Keys added.
“Without paid leave, women can’t leave.”
If you need to reach out for support, contact the national domestic violence helpline on 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT.
If you are in a crisis or an emergency call triple-zero.