Unions, business at loggerheads over DV leave claim

UNIONS have claimed employers are using "tricky legal tactics" to prevent a push for new leave entitlements for victims of domestic violence.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions is trying to establish the leave entitlements for all 122 national awards, under a four-yearly review by the Fair Work Commission.

Under the ACTU application, employee groups also were seeking family-friendly measures for new parents to return to work part-time.

But submissions to the review from several employer groups have rejected the union push.

Part of their argument is that the various measures extend the use of entitlements "beyond the purposes of the National Employment Standards".

Employer groups including the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry also argue the ACTU application appears to create a new entitlement, rather than adjust existing worker leave entitlements.

But ACTU president Ged Kearney said domestic violence and "family-friendly work arrangements" were "whole-of-community problems" and employers needed to play a role.

She said the wider community was "intolerant" of violence against women and that "employers should support our groundbreaking claim".

She said rejecting the claim was giving vulnerable people a "double barrel of discrimination".

The union movement may struggle to sell its claim to the commission as it prepares for a hearing on the issue in July.


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