Tim Ayers (centre right) visited Norco in Lismore to announce its huge step towards paid domestic leave.
Tim Ayers (centre right) visited Norco in Lismore to announce its huge step towards paid domestic leave. Cathryn McLauchlan

Norco's landmark decision: Paid DV leave for workers

NORCO workers will benefit from what's been described as a landmark reform, after employees voted 88% in favour of offering three days paid domestic leave for staff.

The dairy cooperative is one of the first manufacturing companies in Australia to adopt the leave.

Australian Meat Industry Employees Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) helped negotiate the deal.

Assistant secretary of the AMWU NSW, Tim Ayres, said the move put pressure on local businesses to follow suit.

"Norco has taken a leadership position," Mr Ayres said.

"(It's a) flagship employer on the North Coast, sending a message out to all the other employers.

"It's time to get on board, it's time to deliver domestic violence leave for all Australian employees and it's time for the federal government to accept that it should go into the National Employment Standards for all Australian women."

Women Up North outreach worker, Brooke Cotten, said dedicated leave gave women another safe place to turn to for help.

"It means they don't use all of their personal leave or annual leave," she said.

"I'm also hoping it can become a safe place for them to come, so their husband and partner assumes they are coming to work.

"Then they can deal with some issues ... getting the Apprenhended Violence Order, legal advice or financial advice," Ms Cotten said.

An AVO is an order to protect victims of domestic violence when they are fearful of future violence or threats to their safety.

She said three days was a great start, but the target was 10 days.

Assistant secretary of the AMIEU Newcastle and Northern Branch, Justin Smith, said the best outcome would be bringing the issue out into the open.

"The three days off is a great thing - the best thing is that hopefully people will feel they're in a good space and can come forward and get help," he said.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has been pushing for domestic violence leave for the past 18 months.



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