26 September 2023

Troubled families to get 15-days off

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New laws entitling South Australian workers to leave work for as many as 15 days due to family and domestic violence has been introduced into the State Parliament.

The proposed amendments to the Fair Work Act 1994 have been put forward to support workers by ensuring they can immediately access paid leave for reasons including attending medical appointments, legal proceedings, counselling, relocation, the making of safety arrangements and other activities associated with the experience of family and domestic violence.

Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Katrine Hildyard, said the new legislation would protect victim-survivors, and provide a greater level of reassurance that they are being supported and respected.

“People experiencing domestic violence should never need to make the choice between their financial security and independence, and their safety,” Ms Hildyard said.

According to the Legal Services Commission South Australia, family and domestic violence disproportionately impact women while the proposed changes promote gender equity by addressing some of the socioeconomic impacts such as loss of income and employment security.

Chief Executive of Legal Services, Gabrielle Canny said there has been an increase in victims seeking help from court services.

“In the first quarter of this year there’s been a 45 per cent increase in the number of victims seeking help from the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service,” Ms Canny said.

“This is an issue that our entire society needs to focus on, and we welcome the fact that governments are making this a priority,” she said.

The new legislation is to apply to all workers in the State industrial relations system which covers Public Sector and Local Government employees.

South Australian private sector employees are covered by the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009 which was recently amended to include paid family and domestic violence leave.

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