McDonald's Is The Latest Australian Corporate To Include Domestic Violence Leave In Its Staff Agreement

This week the Fair Work Commission certified McDonald’s Australia’s enterprise agreement, which includes a provision for unpaid domestic violence leave.

To support employees who are dealing with domestic violence, the clause allows them to access leave and provides them with flexible working arrangements.

McDonald’s Australia chief restaurant support officer Joanne Taylor said that given the demographic scale of the fast-food chain’s 90,000 Australian employees, it made sense.

With employees of various ethnic backgrounds and ages, “we pretty much represent Australia,” Taylor told Business Insider.

“It’s [domestic violence leave] is something corporates need to make a decision on, based on the demographics of their workforce.” Both the workers’ union and the company are happy with the arrangement, she said.

Including a domestic violence leave clause is gaining traction, though is still not common practice. A variety of local councils, as well as Swinbourne University have put one in place. But more could be done, said White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies.

McDonald’s is the latest corporate to realise domestic issues effect the productivity of their staff, and catering to the issue in the same way they would physical illness is good for their bottom lines, she said. Though ideally, “best-case scenario would be paid leave.”

“If staff feel supported to be effective employees, including in times of stress in the household, you will enhance their capacity,” she said.

“It’s part of a movement that is gaining traction, thank goodness.”

White Ribbon is an organisation that works to prevent male violence against women.

Taylor said the certification of the Agreement is a result of productive negotiations with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) who have a good understanding of the McDonald’s business.

It also includes Wage increases over the life of the agreement that range from 3.5% to 4.5% (compared to this year’s National Minimum Wage increase of 2.6%).

The Agreement was approved by the FWC on 24 July, however the increased hourly rates were implemented early by McDonald’s in good faith on 24 June this year.

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