As one of its first legislative acts, the new Commonwealth government is proposing to provide 10 days of paid leave for victims of family and domestic violence, as a right enshrined in Australia’s National Employment Standards. This will provide victims of FDV with important economic security as they work to address or escape their situations. Access to such leave has been shown to be effective in reducing the subsequent incidence of violence, and assisting victims and their families in rebuilding their lives.
The legislation comes on the heels of an initial decision by the Fair Work Commission to enshrine 10 days paid FDV leave as a provision in Modern Awards.
Our Director, Dr Jim Stanford, appeared as an expert witness last year before the FWC inquiry on this matter. He presented testimony estimating the ultimate impact of 10 days paid FDV leave on total labour costs in the Australian economy. He found that the final impact of this provision on total labour costs was almost too small to be measured (equivalent to an increase in labour costs of one-sixtieth of one percent — not enough to be visible in aggregate economic data). These costs are easily outweighed by the economic benefits of reducing the incidence of FDV.