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The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to proceed to legislate 10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) leave into Federal Parliament.

The Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022, a Labor Party election commitment, ensures all workers who are covered under the National Employment Standards can access paid support to leave abusive and violent relationships.

The Bill is the result of years of tireless advocacy and campaigning by the ANMF, the ACTU and the broader union movement, on behalf of our predominantly-female workforce.

The move to legislate paid FDV leave comes after the Fair Work Commission recommended the change in May this year, a change that the previous Morrison government opposed.

ANMF Federal Assistant Secretary Lori-Anne Sharp said that the new legislation would benefit members significantly.

“The ANMF has been campaigning for paid FDV leave for many years, as it will undoubtedly save women’s’ lives,” Ms Sharp said.

It will allow those individuals who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of experiencing FDV the chance to escape an abusive relationship and be entitled to paid leave, keeping them in employment and giving them some financial security to start rebuilding their lives.

“Nurses and midwives are too often at the coalface of the FDV crisis in this country, identifying and caring for women who are experiencing abuse and violence – and it’s why this entitlement is a significant gain for the ANMF and its members.”

Ms Sharp added that the increased incidences of Family and Domestic Violence reported throughout the COVID pandemic made addressing the issue all the more pertinent.

“As we know, sadly, on average, one woman is killed by a partner, former partner or a family member every 10 days in Australia. And as the Fair Work Commission pointed out in its findings on FDV earlier this year, the COVID-pandemic ‘has seen an increase in the prevalence of FDV,’” Ms Sharp said.

“It’s why, as a nation, we must do everything we can to not only stop FDV, but offer and provide the very best support to victims in the community who find themselves in this terrifying situation.

If you or someone you know is experiencing Family and/or Domestic Violence, please contact 1800 RESPECT for support. Men who are dealing with anger, relationship and/or parenting issues are urged to contact the Men’s Referral Service at 1300 766 491.