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Paid domestic violence leave becomes law

Arts Minister Tony Burke  is dropping broad hints that arts policy is in for a major overhaul. <i>Photo: AAP</i>

Arts Minister Tony Burke is dropping broad hints that arts policy is in for a major overhaul. Photo: AAP

Ten days of paid domestic violence leave is now law in Australia.

The final amendments to laws allowing for more than 11 million workers to have 10 days of domestic violence leave were signed off by the House of Representatives on Thursday.

The entitlement will be available for most employees from February 1, but small businesses will have an extra six months to adjust to the change.

The lower house agreed to amendments proposed by the Senate, which included boosting confidentiality requirements for employers.

A review on how the entitlement has been rolled out will occur next year to ensure it has been implemented safely.

Employment Minister Tony Burke said a whole-of-community response was needed to stop domestic and family violence.

“To all those who have experienced and are experiencing family and domestic violence, you have asked us to take action and we are,” he told parliament on Thursday.

“This bill will not by itself solve the problem of family and domestic violence, but it does mean no employee in Australia will ever again be forced to make a choice between earning a wage and protecting themselves and their families.”

Casual workers will be eligible for the leave, while perpetrators will not be covered.

ACTU president Michele O’Neil welcomed the new laws, saying it represented a historic win.

“It cannot be understated just how important winning paid family and domestic violence leave in the national employment standard is,” she said.

“With one in four women having experienced some form of violence since the age of 15 by an intimate partner, Australia has a critical problem with women’s safety and gender equality.”

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