Women's Refuge supports Green bill for domestic violence paid leave

By Heta Gardiner

Women's Refuge is supporting Green MP Jan Logie's private members bill which would allow victims of domestic violence paid leave from work.

The government is supporting the bill and the Women's Refuge Chief Executive says the new legislation makes economic sense.

A bill that would give victims of domestic violence paid leave from work is gaining support.

Ang Jury says, “We need to start taking the notion of supporting victims in the workplace more seriously.”

At the centre of Jan Logies private members bill, is the provision of 10 days paid leave for domestic violence victims.

Jan Logie says, “We've got Warehouse, and Countdown, and ANZ, and the GCSB and a whole range of small organisations that do this now and finding that it works really well for them and their staff.”

Jury says, “It improves their productivity, it improves their prospects and it makes for a much happier staff member.”

This bill received unanimous support in the house. But the government only decided to back it at the last minute.

Jury says that this has taken so long to come before the house because it hasn't been a priority for government.

“Clearly it hasn't been a priority of government,” says Jury. 

Amy Adams says, “As we said, we had some concerns about the bill and how it would operate and we still do. But what we do think, is that it will be useful to go back to Select Committee and see how it works.”

A survey by Women's Refuge found 60.1% of victims were in full-time employment before they entered an abusive relationship, but just 27.5% remained in work during the relationship.

Jury says, “Well what it showed us and why it's particularly topical right now with Jan Logie's Workplace Violence Victims Bill, is that the experience of living with violence has a marked impact on women's fulltime participation in the workplace.”

Jan Logie's bill if passed will go ahead of the Select Committee.