Staff from Campbelltown City Council are urging the council to follow the lead of other local government areas by providing paid leave for victims of domestic violence to attend medical and legal appointments, find alternate accommodation, and help settle children into new schools.
The United Services Union has been campaigning for the introduction of 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave for more than a year, with dozens of councils signing up in that time.
The policy has even been embraced by the NSW Government, which introduced the same important condition for thousands of public sector workers in November.
The USU wrote to Mayor George Brticevic last month seeking his urgent support for the introduction of a paid domestic violence leave policy at the council.
“Councillor Brticevic worked as a police detective before taking on the roll of Mayor, so he knows better than most people the incredible hardships faced by people in abusive relationships and the difficulties they face when trying to escape from domestic violence,” USU general secretary Graeme Kelly said.
“Despite this personal knowledge of the problem, and the fact that councils across NSW have already implemented 10 days of paid domestic violence leave, Councillor Brticevic has failed to even respond to our written requests, made on behalf of council staff.”
Mr Kelly said police, paramedics, nurses, teaches, and transport workers across NSW now have access to 10 days paid domestic violence leave that can be used for moving home, attending medical and legal appointments, or helping children settle into a new school, but council staff at Campbelltown were being refused the same assistance.
“It takes both time and money for someone to leave a violent relationship,” Mr Kelly said.
“That’s why the introduction of paid domestic violence leave is such an important way to help victims of family violence, and it’s also why staff are so upset that the elected leadership at Campbelltown City Council are refusing to support it.
“If someone is experiencing violence in the home they should not be forced to exhaust their personal, annual, or long service leave — or worst of all not take the time to look after themselves and their family for fear of losing their job or opportunities for career progression.
“That’s why staff have a simple message for the Mayor: it’s time to do the right thing, stand up for the people who need your help, and introduce 10 days paid domestic violence leave at Campbelltown City Council.”
Media contact: Tim Vollmer — 0404 273 313