Stopping workplace DV discrimination 'will save lives'

Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS

Employers will not be able to discriminate against domestic abuse survivors if the federal government has its way.

Employment Minister Tony Burke announced the government would introduce another round of reforms that would protect survivors of domestic abuse from discrimination in the workplace.

The proposal is part of Labor's commitment to help end family, domestic and sexual violence and Mr Burke believes these potential changes to the Fair Work Act "will save lives".

"Violence doesn't discriminate and neither should the law," he said on Friday.

"That's why these proposed changes are so important - ensuring that workers are not penalised in any way if they disclose that they have been subjected to family and domestic violence."

Under the bill, employers will be prohibited from taking action against employees who have been subject to family or domestic violence.

Terms that discriminate against survivors of domestic violence will also be prohibited in employee contracts including enterprise agreements and modern awards.

Roughly one in five adults have experienced family or domestic violence and two-thirds of survivors are part of the workforce.

The government hopes the reforms will help those experiencing violence feel comfortable accessing workplace entitlements without worrying about losing their income or their jobs.

ACTU president Michele O'Neil welcomed the proposal, calling it "another step forward in the campaign for gender equality".

"No worker should ever have had to choose between their pay or their job and their safety, and economic security is a key factor in determining whether a person experiencing violence at home can escape a dangerous relationship or not.

"Knowing that employers cannot discriminate against victims and survivors in the workplace is an essential protection."

The proposal comes after the government passed legislation providing 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave to all employees, including casual workers.

Federal parliament next sits on September 4.

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