Women’s equality and safety — supplier fact sheet

Learn how suppliers can support women's safety and equality.

This objective has 2 outcomes:

  1. adopting family violence leave
  2. advancing gender equality

Family violence leave

‘Family violence’ is defined in the Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic). Family violence includes behaviour by a person towards a family member that is:

  • physically or sexually abusive
  • emotionally or psychologically abusive
  • economically abusive
  • threatening or coercive

It is also behaviour that in any way:

  • controls or dominates a family member
  • causes that family member to feel fear for their or another family member’s safety or wellbeing

Family violence leave is for:

  • employees experiencing family violence
  • supporting someone experiencing family violence

Family violence leave can be paid or unpaid.

Family violence policy

A family violence leave policy should include:

  • definitions
  • purpose and scope
  • clear eligibility criteria
  • evidence requirements

It should also include leave entitlements and conditions that provide:

  • dedicated paid or unpaid leave for employees experiencing family violence, and
  • access to flexible working arrangements where suited

Include privacy and protection against harmful action requirements that:

  • ensure an employee’s details remain confidential
  • control who is told about the family violence
  • protect against harmful action based on disclosing the experience of family violence

Harmful action includes discrimination.

A family violence policy needs to include other types of help. This could include referral to family violence support services.

Example: Rio Tinto family violence leave policy

Rio Tinto introduced a policy to support Australian employees affected by family violence.

Employees can have 10 paid days of leave. This allows for court appearances, relocation, counselling and seeking legal help. The policy also provides safety plans to protect at-risk employees at work, including:

  • security
  • new telephone numbers
  • screening or blocking calls, and
  • email protection

Rio Tinto also provides short-term financial help and emergency accommodation to employees.

Gender equality

Suppliers can help progress women’s safety and equality. They can develop a gender equality strategy. Key parts of a gender equality strategy include:

  • gender equality indicators and outcomes linked to business strategy and outcomes
  • collection and analysis of gender-disaggregated data for measurement and reporting

Policies and procedures that focus on creating a gender-inclusive culture are also part of a strategy. This includes having flexible workplace policies and a family violence policy with:

  • gender equality in leadership at senior levels of the organisation
  • gender composition of teams
  • equal pay and conditions

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency provides information to support organisations to increase their level of gender equality. The Agency produced a Gender Strategy Toolkit. The Toolkit guides organisations aiming to adopt best practice.

Example - RMIT Gender Equality Action Plan 2016-2020

The RMIT Gender Equality Action Plan 2016-2020 has 3 focus areas. These are around the representation of women in senior academic and executive roles. Each of the 3 areas comprise:

  • actions
  • targets
  • timelines
  • responsible enablers, such as an executive champion

RMIT recognises and involves women at all levels of governance, management and leadership. Women’s employment conditions are respected and protected. This enables their full participation in the workforce. Women’s Career Advancement ensures talent is developed and retained.


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