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Domestic violence leave – Fair Work Commission ruling

As part of its four-yearly review of modern awards, The Fair Work Commission has ruled that over 2 million Australian workers will now be able to access five days of unpaid domestic violence leave a year.

The Full Bench of the Commission decided to provide five days’ unpaid leave per annum to all employees (including casuals) in the event that the employee needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence and it is impractical for them to do it outside their ordinary hours of work.

While access to the entitlement only applies to employees who are covered by a modern award, Workplace Minister Craig Laundy has stated draft laws would be introduced to parliament “…as soon as possible to extend the same entitlement to family and domestic violence leave for up to a further six million employees covered by the Fair Work Act.”

The unpaid leave entitlement:

  • will apply to all employees (including casuals);
  • will be available in full at the commencement of each 12 month period rather than accruing progressively during a year of service;
  • will not accumulate from year to year; and
  • will be available in full to part-time and casual employees (i.e. not pro-rated).

While the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) had suggested a number of possible models to the Commission, including extending 10 days of paid domestic violence leave for all employees, Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the Commission had taken a “measured approach” in granting the award entitlement.

The Fair Work Commission has said it will look at the issue of family and domestic leave again in June 2021, including whether provision should be made for paid family and domestic violence leave in modern awards. A summary of the FWC decision is available here.

Need help interpreting what Fair Work obligations relate to your business? Bare Bones Consulting makes all things HR simple…at a value for money price. Call us now for a chat or, if you love banging away on your keyboard, feel free to send an enquiry through the Contact Us page on our website.

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Note: Bare Bones Consulting provides HR services for employers. Employees seeking advice on workplace concerns should contact the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.