Following a decision by the Fair Work Commission in July this year, all employees (including casual employees) covered by modern awards will have access to unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence.
The Fair Work Commission has announced that they have updated all industry and occupation awards to include a new clause about family and domestic violence leave. This new clause applies from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018.
The new clause provides employees with 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year. family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a family member of an employee that seeks to coerce or control the employee and that causes them harm or to be fearful.
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.
The full 5 days leave will be available to an employee at the beginning of each 12month period but does not accrue year to year. Part time and casual employees will also be entitled to the full 5 days leave. Leave is taken as whole days, but part day absences may be agreed between the employer and employee.
It is important to note however, that this new entitlement is limited only to employees covered by an industry or occupation award. It does not apply to employees covered by other types of awards, employees with no award coverage and employees covered by other registered agreements.
Who does the new leave type apply to?
If you have employees who are covered by an industry or occupation award (modern awards) HBA recommends developing a clear policy providing guidance on how the leave will be administered within your organisation (remembering to follow any consultation requirements that may apply in your workplace).
Some workplaces will have a mix of award and non-award coverage across the employees within their workforce. In such circumstances you should consider how you plan to approach the Family and Domestic Violence Leave entitlement within your workplace and draft the policy accordingly.
Workplaces where the Family and Domestic Violence Leave provision do not apply are not required to take any action. However, employers may wish to investigate the value of incorporating these principles within existing leave entitlements (where flexibility exists and it is consistent with the National Employment Standards) or developing a comparable entitlement through policy to enhance existing entitlements.
Should you require assistance in developing a policy or working through any available options relating to this new leave, HBA Consulting can help.