The Safe at Home, Safe at Work project which was put in place in order to help stop domestic violence incidents from occurring has had some significant successes take place in just the last few months. The Clearinghouse recently published an article about the progress in their newsletter in order to congratulate their staff for all of the hard work that had been done to make the gains.
The Clearinghouse reports that thanks to the project by the end of last year, 2012, over one million workers in Australian had been under the protection of domestic violence entitlements due to workplace agreements. The numbers were increased further by the fact that there were also some public service agreements in place in the Commonwealth and Tasmania.
The agreements were designed so that workers that had issues at home with family violence would not have their jobs put in jeopardy due to the struggles associated with family violence. A campaign was also launched in 2012 in order to get information out about the program so that workers who needed these services would know where to term. The program was launched in 5 Australian states and 2 territories. The booklet which outlines the information about the program is currently available online to be downloaded at www.dvandwork.unsw.edu.au.
As a result of the efforts that were already made additional changes occurred in early 2013 when the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations announced changed to the Fair Work Act 2009 that would allow workers the right to obtain flexible work schedules that would allow them to continue working despite the fact that they are dealing with family violence at home. The changes mainly entailed that workplaces were required to be informed about any issues caused to the worker’s work habits and schedule as a result of being a victim of domestic violence in the home. The workplace would then be required to work with the worker in order to come up with an appropriate response to issues stemming from the violence that the worker is dealing with in the home.
The Clearinghouse notes that they believe that the evidence presented in front of the Senate Committee review of the Bill in January 2013 was a strong factor in getting the Bill to pass. In addition the Bill was also supported by the National Alliance of Working Women’s Centres and also the AWAVA. The Clearinghouse also recommended in a submission to the House Standing Committee that the Bill include a significant mention about domestic violence so that workers would have protection under the law against workplace discrimination and poor treatment due to the fact that they are victims of domestic violence and/or are continuing to experience family violence in the home.
The Clearinghouse will also be participating in an additional project which plans to address whether or not a person that is experiencing domestic violence is happy with their apprehended domestic violence order and if they are in need of additional services. This plan is scheduled to be underway by the second half of 2013.