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Issue #1757      November 16, 2016

Make the Pledge

The National Tertiary Education Union has welcomed the support of domestic violence campaigner and 2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, for its Make the Pledge campaign to secure domestic violence leave for all Victorian university staff.

2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty.

Ms Batty has provided an endorsement of the NTEU’s campaign, an initiative of the Victorian Casuals Council, which seeks to provide access to paid domestic violence leave for all staff, including casuals.

“Family violence is a workplace issue. It is everyone’s business,” said Ms Batty in support of the campaign. “Employers have a responsibility, just as we all do, to make the changes we need to address what is still a tragic epidemic of violence that affects one in three women during their lifetime.

“The anxiety and pressure of workplace uncertainty in combination with the trauma of family violence is a burden that no woman or her family should have to endure. Casual staff who experience family violence should be entitled to paid leave and all the arrangements which apply to non-casual staff.”

NTEU national president Jeannie Rea welcomed Ms Batty’s endorsement and added more universities should now take steps to ensure their domestic violence leave provisions do not discriminate.

“We are grateful to Rosie Batty for adding her respected and authoritative voice to this important issue, and are hopeful more universities will now be prompted to Make the Pledge,” said Rea.

“Casual staff are already in precarious positions because of the insecure nature of their work. We also know that job insecurity can increase stress for workers experiencing domestic and family violence, while adversely affecting their endeavours to find safety for themselves and their families.

“There is no sound reason to exclude casual staff from paid domestic violence leave and other rights. The NTEU sees this as an area where universities must make a strong progressive commitment to those needing this vital support.”

Make the Pledge was launched during the NTEU’s Bluestocking Week in August, with the union raising concerns that more than 40 percent of university staff in Victoria were being denied access to domestic violence leave because of their employment status.Consequently Deakin University and La Trobe University have now indicated domestic violence leave will be extended to all staff. They join Swinburne University, which had previously committed to making sure its policies do not discriminate, as well as Australian Catholic University and Federation University, which have confirmed domestic violence leave policies also cover casual staff.

Next article – Queries over PM’s IAC

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