find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Boutique firm sounds alarm on ‘extremely disappointing’ DV measures

Boutique firm sounds alarm on ‘extremely disappointing’ DV measures

Alarm, warning

A Gold Coast law firm has called for the Fair Work Commission to rethink its rejection of a union bid for 10 days of paid domestic violence leave for all employees.

Pullos Lawyers’ Cassandra Pullos said that the Fair Work Commission’s decision to reject the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ application this month, which called for 10 days of paid domestic violence leave for all employees, was “extremely disappointing”.

During its denial of the application, the Fair Work Commission said that it was unapproved because it was not satisfied “at this time, that it is necessary to provide 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave to all employees covered by modern awards,” according to Ms Pullos.

Ms Pullos noted that she was especially critical of remarks from employer groups welcoming Fair Work’s stance and saying paid leave, unpaid leave and flexible working arrangements were already available options where employees experience domestic violence.

“Comments by the employer groups that carer’s leave and annual leave suffice might work for those workers who have leave entitlements owing – but what about those who don’t?” asked Ms Pullos.

“Domestic violence isn’t usually a one-off event. It often causes incremental and increasing absences from work and is in addition to the burden of days lost by illness of both the parent and their children, and on occasion parents that the domestic violence victim might also be caring for.”

Ms Pullos said domestic violence leave should be a compulsory element in every workplace in 2017, the same way personal and holiday leave is provided for by law.

“We, as a community, are starting to take big steps in recognising the widespread prevalence of domestic violence across all socio-economic groups. As a whole of community issue, it needs a workplace response as one essential part of a whole of community response to domestic violence,” she said.

“Enabling victims to access personal and carer’s leave for the purposes of family and domestic violence leave is one step – but it’s not enough. Specific family and domestic violence leave is also needed,” she said.

“Not only does it provide victims with the workplace support they need in a more meaningful way than being restricted to whatever personal and annual leave they have available to them, if any, it also sends a very strong and powerful message about the community’s response to domestic violence and a recognition that this is a whole of community responsibility.”

Speaking on the legal profession specifically, Ms Pullos said that while several Australian law firms are now offering domestic violence leave to staff, it is usually on an ad hoc basis with “no formal, profession-wide policy” in place.

“We support this call for domestic violence leave to be available across the board to everyone affected by it as one of the ways in which the business community can recognise the toll domestic and family violence can take on employees,” Ms Pullos said.

Ms Pullos said the legal profession should take a prominent role in advocating change to protect DV victims and advocate tougher penalties for those who commit domestic violence.

“One of the key messages we need to convey in 2017 is to push for change on the understanding that domestic violence leave is not and should not be just seen as a holiday,” she said.

“Domestic violence is so widespread and ingrained, it needs a whole of government and community approach to eradicate it. Up until now, various groups and agencies have been working almost independently and in isolation on DV solutions.

“The current splintered approach needs to refocus around a robust policy to protect and help victims, and deter and appropriately punish domestic violence offenders.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Boutique firm sounds alarm on ‘extremely disappointing’ DV measures
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...