After having considered this issue over the last few years and reviewed countless submissions the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has recently ruled that this issue will be covered within modern awards.
In its decision the Commission has determined that workers covered by modern awards will now be able to access five days of unpaid domestic violence leave a year. This unpaid entitlement will be available to both permanent and casual workers and will be available at the commencement of each year of service but will not accumulate from year to year. Further, the new entitlement will not affect employees’ rights to utilise any paid personal leave should they be ill or injured.
As part of the decision, the Commission denied the union movements push for such leave to be available on an uncapped, per occasion basis, but the amount of leave is still higher than the two or three days per year as suggested by employer bodies.
To do list
In the coming months the Commission and interested parties will draft a model provision that will be interleaved into most modern awards. Further, the Commission will clarify what ‘evidence’ an employer may request from an employee seeking to make use of ‘family and domestic violence leave’.
Only award covered employees will be covered by the new provisions, however both sides of politics have referenced their intentions to amend the Fair Work Act so as to give access to such leave to all national system employees.
Employers need to keep this issue on the radar and should consider reviewing and revising any internal policies and procedures when such terms become effective. As always, the staff at Better HR can help you on this issue.