One in four women - around 2.2 million - experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner, with the global pandemic exacerbating the crisis.
Under the provisional decision, award-dependent workers will be able to access 10 days of paid leave accrued progressively across the year, just like personal leave.
At the moment, employers are legally obliged to provide five days of unpaid leave under national employment standards.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has been calling for 10 days of paid leave for family and domestic violence (FDV) victims for some time.
The industrial umpire agreed with this sentiment, noting that employment was an “important pathway out of violent relationships”.
Women who experience violence in the home are likely to be worse off financially long after the abuse takes place.
Research shows that women who experience FDV are more likely to end up in lower-paid and casual work, and are at risk of unemployment, financial stress, homelessness, and poverty.
“Paid family and domestic violence leave provides significant assistance to employees who experience FDV,” the FWC said.
“It helps individuals to maintain their economic security; to access relevant services, and to safely exit to a life free from FDV.”
The push for 10 days’ leave for domestic violence victims has been opposed by business groups.
However, the commission expects to see minimal cost impact for most employers because few people are actually likely to use these entitlements.
Plus, any cost impact would be offset through reduced absenteeism and lost productivity, although the commission recognised this was difficult to quantify.
Several employers already offer paid domestic leave, including Telstra, NAB, Virgin Australia, IKEA and Qantas.