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The Australian Lottery and Newsagents’ Association (ALNA) is the peak industry body representing Australian newsagencies and lottery agents. There are 4000 individually owned and operated newsagencies in the country and together they make up Australia's largest retail and home delivery group.
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COSBOA says Domestic Violence Leave (DVL) should be government's responsibility not employers

The Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA), that includes ALNA and other small business associations like the Master Grocers and Pharmacy Guild as members, has come out this week on the topic of Domestic Violence Leave (DVL).

COSBOA have said that DVL is an important issue but should be funded by government like Paid Parental Leave. Alternatively the current leave provisions should be used rather than additional leave becoming the responsibility of employers.

ALNA is supportive of this approach, which is fair and practical for our small business members.

"While we support finding solutions to the serious issue of domestic violence, we will be seeking meetings with government to understand the metrics of how this approach might work. We want to ensure that there are not legal implications being created for our members through this," said ALNA cheif executive Adam Joy. "We would also like to see increased support services for victims and increased education for identified perpetrators, rather than just having a focus on additional leave.

"There are a lot of questions about DVL that still need to be resolved like how it aligns with existing leave entitlements."

ALNA will keep members updated as we seek answers to these questions.

Read COSBOA's media release below:

Domestic Violence is a private issue in many ways and now the management of it has become a public issue through demands for Domestic Violence Leave (DVL).

Domestic violence is a problem that must be addressed and eradicated. Any structured response needs to be from the broader society, not from individual employers who may also be victims.

The solution is not to have DVL in the workplace relations system; except where a company volunteers to do so, as many big businesses and government agencies are doing through their enterprise agreements.

Instead we should have a nationally provided system of DVL the same as we have for Paid Parental Leave (PPL). This reflects the fact that we face a societal issue, not a problem that is created by employers.

This proposal also gives victims the option of maintaining privacy for a situation that many do not wish to share with those in the workplace, no matter how well meaning and supportive those people are and can be. This includes employers and work colleagues but also includes friends and relatives. Domestic violence is difficult and many want privacy, not further complication.

Individual employers have been shown to be already very supportive and along with co-workers will do whatever is possible to assist. This includes providing time off, often paid for by the employer, and the employees contribute by working extra hard as a result and do so without rancor or complaint. Why institutionalise good deeds? There seems to be very few or no cases of the opposite occurring.

There is no doubt that a scheme funded by employers fails any test of fairness when the needs of the self-employed are considered. An employer, a woman or a man, could be a victim yet this is not acknowledged and worryingly these victims, who are employers, will be forced to find extra funds and extra time to manage the lives of others who are fellow victims.

There could also be an extra demand placed on employers in areas where there is a higher incidence of domestic violence. This could fall on some employers more unfairly than it does on others, which reflects the very issues around Domestic Violence.

There is also a school of thought that a more productive workplace is one where the employer cares for employees. That is obvious, but the problem becomes when that statement is extended to situations such as PPL and DVL. Asking a small business person to find extra cash or extra time to manage a government-imposed process or expense does not create productivity. It does the opposite as the employer and her or his family is stressed. The employer is asked to spend less time on running their business, less time with their own families and less money on their own necessities because some academics say so. (These academics normally only study big businesses and often dance to the beat of big unions). Common sense should always apply ahead of false academic thesis.

We should not create greater complexity and more victims from domestic violence. That makes the problem worse not better. This approach has the potential to embed the behaviour as something to be dealt with not something that needs to be stopped.

The best solution is to fund this through government and have it managed by the welfare sector. Then there is a greater chance of getting victims to go where there is privacy and professional support and will help keep their job and others jobs more secure.

For more information on COSBOA, visit www.cosboa.org.au

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