Adore Beauty founder Kate Morris is encouraging small businesses to do more where they can to support victims of domestic violence after deciding to provide paid domestic violence leave to her own workers.
The outspoken business owner says she made the decision to bolster Adore Beauty’s policies after reading an op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, which was critical of the White Ribbon campaign.
“We were trying to think of ways in which, as employers, we could move the needle for people in a really terrible situation,” Morris tells SmartCompany.
“I genuinely hope no one on my team will ever be in a situation where they’d need to access the leave, but it’s about trying to do what you can to be supportive as an organisation.”
Morris has also doubled the domestic violence leave available to her workers, a policy change which is currently being finalised.
One in six Australian women over the age 15 have experienced domestic violence, according to 2017 ABS figures.
This means there are potentially more than a million workers across the economy who have experienced domestic violence.
Earlier this year new provisions in modern awards came into effect which mandates up to five days of unpaid leave for workers dealing with family and domestic violence, but there have been calls for this to become paid leave.
Reading this and feeling angry and frustrated… and then thought, hey wait a minute, I *can* do more. So this morning we doubled our domestic violence leave policy and changed to fully paid. https://t.co/sXmf4lxpGb via @smh @JennaPrice
— Kate Morris (@morris_kate) 22 October 2018
Morris says domestic violence hasn’t traditionally been taken seriously enough.
“Anybody who is in a position to help should help,” she says.
But she accepts that for many small businesses being generous with leave can be difficult.
“It can be difficult to be as generous as you’d like to be with your leave policies, but if you can do it then you should.
“Our team are like our family, so of course we’ll do whatever we can to try and support them,” Morris says.
The Labor Party plans to take a policy to the next election which would enshrine a right to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave into law.
Labor’s workplace relations spokesperson Brendan O’Connor said earlier this year that workers need more support.
“We’ve listened to victims, frontline workers, business, and organisations that deal daily with domestic violence,’’ O’Connor said.
“Their clear message is people who have experienced domestic violence need more support in the workplace.”
Employer organisations such as the Australian Industry Group were supportive of five-days unpaid leave but opposed 10-days of paid leave.
Reach out for domestic violence support by calling 1800 RESPECT or visiting reachout.com