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By Yvette Berry

25 November 2021

Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash

Minister for Industrial Relations

[email protected]



Dear Hon Michaelia Cash


I am writing to you, alongside community sector and union advocates, to again call for the inclusion of 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave in the National Employment Standards. The inclusion of five days of unpaid leave in the National Employment Standards does not go far enough to help victims-survivors escape violence.


Domestic and family violence is a workplace issue. Domestic and family violence can happen to anyone. It impacts all aspects of society and needs to be publicly acknowledged rather than kept hidden. Its pervasiveness sees more than one woman being killed every week on average by a partner or former partner. In 2013 the ACT Government acknowledged this by introducing 20 days of paid leave for domestic and family violence purposes as a formal entitlement in ACT Government enterprise agreements.


Women are nearly three times more likely to experience partner violence than men. Violence is a gendered issue with its root cause in harmful gender norms. This fact points strongly to the need for 10 days of paid domestic and family violence leave as women are already more concentrated in insecure and low-income jobs.


To escape violent relationships victim-survivors need time and resources that are not equally available to everyone, especially if they cannot afford to take time off work. This can leave victims of violence in a very unsafe place. Increasing the entitlement to 10 days paid leave is one aspect of providing greater and much needed assistance to victims of violence.



I have raised this issue previously, but I want to reiterate its importance alongside the advocates who are also signatory to this letter. I welcome any further discussions you would like to have on this.


Yours sincerely


Yvette Berry MLA
Deputy Chief Minister
Minister for Women
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence


Michelle Kirby
ACT Branch Secretary
United Services Union


Carol Matthews
Acting Secretary
Independent Education Union Australia NSW/ACT Branch


Maddy Northam
ACT Regional Secretary
Community and Public Sector Union


Ellen McNally
NSW ACT Women's Officer
National Women's Officer
Electrical Trades Union
Communications Electrical Plumbing Union


Matthew Daniel
Branch Secretary
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation - ACT Branch


Jill McCabe
Chief Executive Officer
Professionals Australia



Angela Burroughs
Branch President
Australian Education Union – ACT Branch


Greg McConville
ACT Branch Secretary
United Firefighters Union of Australia 

Matthew Harrison


Lachlan Clohesy
Division Secretary 
National Tertiary Education Union ACT Division


Katie Ley
Division President 
National Tertiary Education Union ACT Division


Joanne Nava
Acting NSW/ACT Local Executive Secretary
Finance Sector Union of Australia 


Cory Wright




Lyndal Ryan
Director ACT and Region
United Workers Union


Klaus Pinkas
ACT Sub Branch Secretary
Transport Workers’ Union of Australia


Gerard Hayes
Health Services Union ACT/NSW/QLD


Zach Smith
Acting Secretary
CFMEU Construction & General Division ACT Branch 


Natalie Lang
Branch Secretary
Australian Services Union NSW and ACT Branch


Frances Crimmins
YWCA Canberra


Robyn Martin
Beryl Women Inc.


Advocacy for Inclusion- Incorporating People with Disabilities ACT


Greg Aldridge


Sel Cooper
Executive Director
A Gender Agenda


Marluce Silva Peters
Doris Women’s Refuge Inc.


Dr Emma Campbell
Australian Council of Social Service


Chrystina Stanford
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre


Philippa Moss


Susan Clarke- Lindfield
Toora Women Inc.


Sue Webeck
Domestic Violence Crises Service