EMPLOYEES at the City of Canning will be entitled to domestic violence leave in a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) passed by staff last Thursday .
The two-and-a-half year agreement, which still must be approved by Fair Work Australia (FWA), also includes a 1.5 per cent annual wage increase, but few new additions according to chief executive Lyn Russell.
“The conditions of this agreement mainly just follow on from conditions made in the previous agreement so apart from domestic violence leave there isn’t a lot of difference between the current agreement and the previous one,” she said.
“(It has) an overwhelming vote of approval by staff but it hasn’t yet been formalised in terms (of going) to Fair Work and being ratified through the commission, so at this stage it’s still not a formal agreement.”
Ms Russell said the incremental increases were on par with cost of living predictions and adhered to councillor requests to be frugal.
The advent of domestic violence leave is part of a national FWA agenda to give employees experiencing violence in the home options for a flexible work place.
“It’s currently on the national agenda for inclusion in all awards, so it’s actually a clause that has been included in a number of EBAs public and private but it’s one that looks like it’s become part of the national award base,” Ms Russell said.
“We were picking it up in what appears to be a general trend towards domestic leave for employees across Australia and I think it’s probably come out of Rosie Batty’s efforts when she was Australian of the year,”
“There’s been a lot of campaigns around it so a lot of good employers are (offering it) and we regard ourselves as one of those.”
Ms Russell said she believed the final agreement would be applicable only to victims of domestic violence, rather than perpetrators.
“My understanding, and I’m happy to be corrected by experts in industrial relations, is that it’s designed to help and employee who may have been the victim of domestic violence,”
She said all cases would be dealt with individually.
“I think that is a process that would need to be worked out once the agreement has been approved by Fair Work Australia, we’ve made provisions for it in the agreement but the details will obviously need to be worked through in consultation with our staff and unions, so I can’t give you the actual details,” she said.
“But I think I would be right in saying that every case will be dealt with on its merits.”
Ms Russell said the council would now shift focus to the upcoming budget.
“We are doing work to prepare for our forth coming budget, keeping the same principles of keeping our costs down and keeping everything within affordability… you will continue to see council taking a steady as she goes approach,” she said.