BCEC research influences paid family and domestic violence leave provisional decision

ContactsAlan Duncan, Director
Joanna Holcombe, Communications and Engagement Coordinator
Published17 May 2022

An important research report from Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre has directly influenced the provisional decision from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that modern award wages should include 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave.

Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre was commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to undertake an independent economic analysis of the costs to employers of providing paid family and domestic violence leave to workers on the modern award wage as part of its submission to the FWC review commencing in June 2021.

According to the decision of the FWC Full Bench, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre’s research on the costs of providing 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave “addressed the lacuna in the evidence regarding the costs of paid family and domestic violence leave identified in the July 2017 Majority Decision“.

Professor Alan Duncan, Director of Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, said that this historic decision would positively impact the lives of millions of Australians.

“This decision affects over 2.6 million Australians currently employed under modern awards and may set the precedent for the wider Australian workforce,” Professor Duncan said.

“It is fantastic to have worked on research that directly impacts on people’s lives – you can’t have much greater impact than this.”

Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre’s report, Family and Domestic Violence Leave Review, found that the benefits of providing paid family and domestic violence leave to employees on award wages would outweigh the costs.

Key findings

  • The total annual cost to employers of providing an entitlement of 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave to award-covered employees is between $13.1 million and $34.3 million.
  • The estimated cost to employers from the time lost due to absenteeism of award-covered employees because of family and domestic violence is estimated at $14.3 million.
  • Providing paid family and domestic violence leave reduces the costs to employers from employee absenteeism and lost productivity, and protects award-covered employees from financial loss from taking unpaid leave due to family and domestic violence.
  • Indirect benefits to employees include intangible nonmonetary benefits, including better mental health due to less financial stress.
  • Providing 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave for award-covered employees will not impose a significant cost to businesses, particularly when set against the potential benefits of providing such leave to both the employer and employee.

Read Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre’s full Family and Domestic Violence Leave Review report here.