Qld Premier proposes National Employment Standard for domestic violence leave

Published Friday, 28 October, 2016 at 12:22 PM

Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

All Australian Governments should legislate to provide paid leave and the right to request flexible work arrangements for those affected by domestic and family violence, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Addressing the Council of Australian Governments’ National Summit to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children in Brisbane today, Ms Palaszczuk said her Government had introduced the Industrial Relations Bill 2016 into State Parliament to provide for domestic and family violence leave for employees.

“When passed, I will be proud to say that Queensland will be the first state with legislated domestic and family violence leave arrangements,” the Premier said.

“I would like to see rolled out across the country as a National Employment Standard.”

Queensland’s legislation provides for:

•             An employee, other than a casual employee, to up to 10 days of domestic and family violence leave per year on full pay;

•             A long-term casual employee to a maximum of 10 days of unpaid domestic and family violence leave per year.  A short-term casual employee is entitled to a maximum of 2 days of unpaid domestic and family violence leave per year;

•             The leave may be used at any time during the year. The leave does not accumulate from year to year;

•             There is no minimum amount of leave;

•             There is no qualifying period of employment that must be worked before an employee is eligible for leave; and

•             The employer has discretion to require an employee to provide evidence in support of an application of leave, but also recognises information disclosed in support of application may be of sensitive nature and an employer should not disclose information.

“As an employer of more than 200,000 Queenslanders,  my Government has chosen to lead by example,” the Premier said.

“Queensland Government employees experiencing domestic violence will now be offered 10 days of paid leave per year to attend medical, legal and counselling appointments and arrange alternative accommodation and child care assistance."

“We have introduced a workplace support package for our employees affected by domestic and family violence."

“It includes flexible working arrangements, a minimum of 10 days of paid leave, workplace safety adjustments, and confidential counselling."

 The Premier said the Domestic and Family Violence Taskforce’s report Not Now, Not Ever underlined how important it is to provide support in the workplace for employees affected by violence in the home.

 “My government wants to be a champion for workplace cultural change and through this Summit we want to work with all Australian Governments to champion change across the nation,” the Premier said.

The Premier and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are hosting the COAG Summit, attended by First Ministers, government representatives and stakeholders.

Ms Palaszczuk said the government had committed a record $198.2 million over five years in this year’s Budget to continue to implement the response to Not Now, Not Ever.

Key achievements include:

•             releasing the 10-Year Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy;

•             opening of 72-hour crisis shelters in Brisbane and Townsville, which have helped more than 1000 victims escape violence. Since the six-month report, a further $8.7 million has been allocated for regional shelters in Charters Towers and Roma;

•             trialling of a specialist domestic and family violence court at Southport. To build on the trial, the 2016-17 Budget included $42.4 million over four years to roll out more specialist courts;

•             a suite of laws including amendments to the Penalties and Sentences Act to make domestic violence an aggravating factor and laws to make non-fatal strangulation a separate offence;

•             the development of the Respectful Relationships education program for all Queensland schools to counter attitudes and behaviours that underpin violence later in life.

Media contact: Premier's office 3719 7000