FlexCareers employer partner Medibank is the first health insurer to introduce uncapped paid leave to any employee experiencing domestic and family violence.
White Ribbon Day was on Saturday, and for some, lives went on as usual. For others, the day signalled a show of support for those whose lives have been shattered, or who face continued trauma at the hands of domestic violence.
Statistics surrounding domestic and non-physical abuse bring to light how prevalent violence against women in Australia is. A staggering one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them. In fact, intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability & ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44.
It’s clear that we need to be doing more, not only to stop domestic violence, but to support those who are experiencing it and who continue to be affected by the trauma.
FlexCareers partner Medibank has been supporting domestic and family violence victims with 2016, with 10-days of paid leave to meet legal, medical, relocation and other administrative commitments, as well as counselling. This week Medibank announced that it has expanded this policy – employees will now be able to access uncapped paid domestic and family violence leave, without having to dip into other leave entitlements.
Medibank’s approach reflects the company’s determination to better support people dealing with the challenges of domestic and family violence.
Medibank’s Chief Executive Officer Craig Drummond said domestic and family violence was a community issue and an important one for the company to focus on.
“As a large employer, we have an obligation to provide the right support to any person who is experiencing domestic and family violence and offer them greater workplace support. We have the capacity to drive change in our community and this is a responsibility that we take seriously,” Mr Drummond said.
“Medibank’s commitment to support employees with uncapped paid leave reflects the practical need for people experiencing domestic and family violence to maintain their financial independence. Our employees will now have greater flexibility in managing their work schedule,” he said.
Medibank’s Group Executive of People and Culture Kylie Bishop said it made the decision to offer uncapped leave because of the unique nature of every domestic and family violence situation.
“We have found since first introducing 10-days paid leave that in some cases it was insufficient for the complex situations that some of our employees faced,” Ms Bishop said.
“Ensuring the safety of yourself and often your children, including the relocating of home and schools, together with the requirement to take time off work for legal assistance and counselling can take longer than 10-days. We want to support our people in every way we can, not burden them with loss of income.”
Ms Bishop added that for the first time Medibank was acknowledging the organisation not only employs people who are experiencing or are at risk of domestic and family violence, it may also employ those who use violence.
“We also offer support to employees who may be engaging in violent behaviour, with referral pathways to counselling or other appropriate services,” she said.
Former Chair of the Commonwealth’s National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, and member of the 1800RESPECT National Sector Advisory Group, Libby Lloyd AM commended Medibank.
“It is exciting that Medibank is making uncapped paid domestic and family violence leave available for their employees. This reform recognises some women may require quite lengthy and complex legal or other assistance to get themselves and their children out of harmful and dangerous relationships and back on their feet. We need all workplaces to offer safe, respectful and supportive work environments and this initiative by Medibank marks an important step along that path,” Ms Lloyd said.
FlexCareers is proud to be affiliated with Medibank and is a proud supporter of any community and corporate initiatives impacting the issue of domestic violence.