From August 1st, 2018 employees on modern awards can take up to five days of unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence. This new Family and Domestic Violence Leave is now available following a ruling by the Fair Work Commission earlier this year.
Under the new entitlement, 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 or causes them harm or fear”. Leave arrangements may include for example, making arrangements for their safety or the safety of a family member (including relocation), attending urgent court hearings, or accessing police services.
The definition of a family member includes:
- an employee’s:
- spouse or former spouse
- de facto partner or former de facto partner
- an employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or
- a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.
Eligible employees can take the leave if they need to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it is impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.
Five days of unpaid leave will be available at the commencement of each 12 month period rather than accruing progressively during a year of service. The leave is not cumulative from year to year.
The entitlement is unique in that, the full 5 days of unpaid leave will be available to part-time and casual employees. This is different to some other forms of leave (e.g. annual leave) which are not provided at all to casual employees.
To assist employers in communicating and managing this new entitlement, we have developed a Leave Policy which outlines all types of leave, including the leave and support entitlements offered to employees who are subject to domestic or family violence. The policy also provides employers with an option to provide their employees with additional entitlements (above and beyond what is legislatively required). For example, employers may wish to provide paid domestic and family violence leave or allow their employees to access paid annual or personal/carer’s leave entitlements for reasons related to domestic and family violence.
You can download a copy of the Leave Policy or by contacting us directly. Before using or implementing the leave policy, please ensure that it is consistent with any enterprise agreement, contract, or award which applies to the employees in your workplace. We can assist you with this if required.