RTBU National Secretary Bob Nanva today said Fair Work Commission Vice President Graeme Watson's last ruling as a Commissioner vindicated his decision to retire.
"Vice President Watson's decision to reject the inclusion of Family and Domestic Violence Leave in modern awards does not reflect current community attitudes and standards,” Mr Nanva said.
“For example, Vice President Watson claimed ‘it would be an overstatement to say that domestic violence leave will materially affect workforce participation or social inclusion.’
“From these comments, it would be an understatement to say that Vice President Watson has failed to grasp the extent of domestic violence in our community, or the impact that domestic violence has on the capacity of victims to function normally in the workplace.
“Vice President Watson also argued in favour of an ‘open, positive, considerate and collaborative approach’ to dealing with the impact of domestic violence in the workplace.
“He failed, however, to provide any indication of what such an approach would look like in practice, or how it would benefit an employee who did not have a considerate and collaborative boss.
“Furthermore, Vice President Watson also cast unfair and unfounded aspersions on domestic violence victims by hypothesising that employees would seek to take Domestic Violence Leave for purposes which have a ‘tenuous link with actual physical violence.’
DV Leave is Part of the Solution
“It is correct to say that family and domestic violence is a deep and complex social problem, and leave provisions on their own cannot solve everything.
“But that is no reason to collectively stick our heads in the sand and hope that domestic violence just goes away.
“Domestic Violence Leave is not a panacea, but it will help victims to escape violent relationships, and it will save lives.
“Sadly, Vice President Watson has taken a serious issue, shrugged his shoulders, and thrown it in the too hard basket.
“We hope that the decisions of Deputy President Gooley and Commissioner Spencer, when they are released, adopt an approach to Domestic Violence Leave more in line with community standards and the needs of workers across Australia.”