Supporting employees experiencing family and domestic violence

On White Ribbon Day, Elabor8 introduced its Domestic and Family Violence Policy. Our policy goes above and beyond the new government-mandated requirements for family and domestic violence leave — offering additional time and financial resources to help employees secure a safe place to live.

Currently in Australia, one in six women and one in sixteen men, since the age of 15, have experienced violence by a current or previous partner. Though there is no single face of family and domestic violence, intimate partner violence does disproportionately affect women; causing more illness, disability and deaths than any other factor for women aged 25–44. There are very real costs and negative impacts that flow into all aspects of life when there is violence in the home. 

That’s why Elabor8’s Domestic and Family Violence Policy covers not just domestic violence from a spouse or former partner, but anyone who is a victim of violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour.  

Our people are our business, but more than that, they are our peers and our friends. That’s why we want to support colleagues who are experiencing physical and psychological injury and safety concerns. We saw the need to do something, because unfortunately, family and domestic violence is a fact of life for too many in Australia.

Our policy provides financial support and benefits over and above the five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave introduced in the National Employment Standards on 12 December 2018. While the government-mandated domestic and family leave is a step in the right direction, we think we can do better by giving people experiencing domestic and family violence greater support, time and financial assistance to adequately protect themselves and their families.

According to the Australian Law Reform Commission report on Family Violence and Commonwealth Laws, people who are experiencing family violence may quickly exhaust their existing leave entitlements and will struggle to maintain their economic independence at the time they need it the most.

Research by the Australian Council of Trade Unions shows it takes on average 141 hours (or nearly 18 working days) and up to $18,250 to find a new and safe place to live. There is a long list of things that have to be done and paid for — like finding emergency or new accommodation, medical and counselling appointments, and potentially making legal or court appearances — and many of these must be done during business hours.

Domestic and family violence is not just emotionally taxing, removing yourself or family members from the situation can also be extremely time-consuming and expensive. We recognise this by financially supporting employees through this difficult time by paying for things like accommodation, medical treatment or the purchase of essential items. In addition to their paid personal and annual leave balance, employees are entitled to an additional 10 days paid leave per year. Our policy also provides for a cash payment of up to $1,000 for people experiencing family or domestic violence. 

Elabor8’s policy also provides employees with 24-hour access to a specialist through our confidential Employee Assistance Program and flexible working arrangements, like altering their work schedule or condensing hours. Everyone, including full, part-time and casual employees, can access the support provided by our Domestic and Family Violence Policy.

It is important that employees who experience domestic and family violence know how to get the support they need. We also believe that we can play a role in educating others so that we can help break the cycle and prevent family and domestic violence in the future. As part of our commitment to foster an inclusive work environment, we will continue to build supportive structures like this policy that make it easier for our talented people to stay happy and productive at work.

If you, a family member or a friend are victims of domestic or family violence help is availble at White Ribbon Australia and  1800RESPECT