By Paul Ackerman
Following a recent decision by the Fair Work Commission, Modern Awards have been amended effective August 2018 to give employees access to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year. This followed a campaign run by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and supported by the 2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty. Family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that:
- seeks to coerce or control the employee;
- causes them harm or fear.
Employees can take the leave if they need to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it’s impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work. Reasons for individuals taking this leave may include (but are not limited to) taking time to attend court hearings, accessing police services or making arrangements for their safety or that of family members.
Who does it apply to?
The new entitlement applies to all employees covered by an Industry or Occupation Award. It does not apply to employees who are covered by Enterprise Awards, State Reference Public Sector Awards or other registered agreements.
It is worth noting that at around the same time, our New Zealand neighbours passed a similar bill – but theirs was for ten days of paid Domestic Violence leave, coming into effect April 2019 – a World first.
What should I do?
It is important that employers understand all of their employee obligations. Employee Matters can help you to check all your obligations are being met via our Employee Metrics tool. Contact us now to set up an initial ‘Discovery Session’ and find out more.