Australian workers are a step closer to securing five days of unpaid domestic and family violence leave, after draft laws passed the first hurdle of federal parliament.
All employees under the Fair Work Act will be entitled to the five days under the proposal, which Minister for Women Kelly O'Dwyer says is an "appropriate safety net".
"People who need to take leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence will be able to do so safe in the knowledge that their job is protected," Ms O'Dwyer told the lower house on Tuesday.
The proposed leave would apply to full-time, part-time and casual workers.
"We know sadly that victims of family and domestic violence are overwhelmingly women," the minister said.
"This year, too many women have been killed violently at the hands of men. And one death is just too much."
Labor's employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor's attempts to amend the bill to provide for 10 days of paid leave were shot down by Liberal MP Tony Smith, speaker of the House of Representatives.
Mr O'Connor said Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and New Zealand had implemented paid domestic violence, leaving federal laws in their wake.
But Mr Smith ruled that the amendments sought to reverse the intent of the bill, namely providing unpaid leave, so could not be considered.
"That ruling has not been given on a whim," he told the chamber.
Greens MP Adam Bandt also tried to amend the bill by broadening its scope so it would apply to close relatives of domestic violence victims, while boosting the five days to 10 days of unpaid leave.
However, Ms O'Dwyer said they were not necessary as the draft laws as they stand were the result of a thorough inquiry by the Fair Work Commission.
But the Australian Council of Trade Unions argued that five days of leave won't be enough for people to take time off work to leave abusive relationships and protect their families.
"Sixty-three women have been killed so far this year due to family and domestic violence," ACTU president Michele O'Neil said in a statement.
"Ten days' paid leave won't solve this problem but it is a vital step which the government must take to protect women from violence."