The Fair Work Commission have added a new clause to all industry and occupation awards to provide all employees covered by an Award with an entitlement to Family and Domestic Violence Leave which will be an additional form of unpaid leave entitlement.
Employees who are experiencing domestic violence will now be able to access 5 days of unpaid leave each year. The leave can be taken by employees to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence. This includes (but isn’t limited to) taking time to:
• make arrangements for their safety, or the safety of a family member
• attend court hearings
• access police services
Employees are entitled to the full 5 days from the day they start work – they don’t have to build it up over time. The 5 days renews each 12 months but doesn’t accumulate from year to year if it isn’t used.
The leave doesn’t need to be taken all at once and can be taken as single or multiple days.
What date do these changes take effect?
From the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018.
Who do these changes apply to?
The new entitlement applies to all employees (including Casual employees) who are covered by an industry or occupation award.
It doesn’t apply to employees who are:
• covered by Enterprise awards
• covered by State reference public sector awards
• covered by enterprise and other registered agreements
• Award and agreement free
What do I need to do?
If you have employees who are covered by an Award containing the new leave provision, you must ensure you allow employees to access this leave entitlement.
You may wish to include this provision in your policy documents to ensure staff are aware of what their entitlement is as well as their obligations in accessing this leave.
You must also take reasonably practicable steps to keep any information about an employee’s situation confidential.
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.
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
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.
An employer can ask their employee for evidence that shows the employee took the leave to deal with family and domestic violence. If the employee doesn’t provide the requested evidence, they may not get family and domestic violence leave.
The evidence has to convince a reasonable person that the employee took the leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.
Types of evidence can include:
• documents issued by the police service
• documents issued by a court
• family violence support service documents, or
• a statutory declaration
Employers can ask employees to provide evidence for as little as 1 day or less off work.