On the 25th of August, the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership and the ANU Gender Institute hosted a consultative roundtable discussion with ACT Senator David Pocock on the proposed new paid leave for family and domestic violence under the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022. This roundtable brought together key voices from women’s groups across the ACT with experts at ANU to discuss the legislation.
The discussion included consideration to how the legislation would work in practice, and whether any amendments to the bill could enhance its operation. Members of the roundtable were largely supportive of the leave, as they believed it would provide financial support for victim-survivors and help them remain in the workforce. It was also recommended that detailed, trauma-informed guidelines should accompany the legislation, and these guidelines should be centred on helping employees access the leave, rather than denying them the leave. The roundtable also emphasised that:
- Casual workers should be included in the paid leave entitlement.
- Pay should be at the normal level, rather than a base level to protect the safety of victim-survivors.
- Government funding should be provided to community services organisations and small businesses to support leave payments.
- Proper funding for the women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and gender marginalised groups specialist services will also be necessary to accompany leave.
We are grateful for everyone for sharing their time and expertise on such an important issue, and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future.