Casual workers will be eligible for the government’s new paid domestic and violence leave scheme.

The Albanese government will introduce legislation to parliament this week that will put in place 10 days of paid leave for people affected by domestic violence.

More than 11 million workers are expected to have access to the leave.

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The Australian Council of Trade Unions welcomed the coverage of casual workers, calling the prevalence of domestic and family violence a “national emergency”.

“All workers deserve access to 10 days paid FDV leave because family and domestic violence could happen to anyone,” ACTU president Michele O’Neil said.

“Casual workers are among the most likely to lack the financial security needed to escape an abusive relationship. 

“Today’s FDV Bill announcement is a critically important step in supporting them and all workers not to have to choose between their income, their job and their safety.”

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said the new legislation would give people the means to escape violent situations without risking their jobs.

“The principle is if someone is wanting to get out, we don’t want ‘do you lose your job or are you going to lose money?’ to be on the list of difficulties that that individual is facing,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“The reality is, disproportionately people in casual work are in those situations. 

“If you’re facing family and domestic violence, you are more likely be in insecure work.”

The bill will be introduced to parliament on Thursday, with the scheme set to begin on February 1 next year for most employees.

Small businesses will have an extra six months to adjust to the changes, according to the government.

The scheme will be fully operational by August 2023.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said it was important to remove barriers for people fleeing domestic violence.

“One woman dies in Australia every 10 days at the hands of their current or former partner. That is unacceptable,” she said.

Opposition workplace relations spokeswoman Michaelia Cash indicated the coalition would likely support the bill.

“Our inclination is to support this … based on the Fair Work Commission’s model. But the devil is in the detail, and I do need to have a look at the legislation,” she told ABC radio.

“It was the former coalition government that actually extended the five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave into the national employment standards.”

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