Most employees can take unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence, following a Fair Work Commission decision. The Fair Work Commission has 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.
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 and cause them harm or fear.
A family member includes:
- 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
All employees (including casual employees) covered by an award with the new clause are entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave. All industry and occupation awards have the new family and domestic violence leave entitlements. Some awards don’t include the new unpaid family and domestic leave entitlement. These awards are:
- Enterprise awards
- State reference public sector awards
Employees covered by these awards aren’t entitled to the new unpaid family and domestic violence leave entitlements. However, they might be entitled to other paid or unpaid entitlements in their award that they can access in these circumstances, or their employer might have a workplace policy allowing them to take family and domestic violence leave.
Employees covered by enterprise and other registered agreements aren’t entitled to the new unpaid family and domestic violence leave in awards. However, their agreement might include or incorporate the leave, or there may be other paid or unpaid entitlements in their agreement that they can access in these circumstances. Award and agreement free employees aren’t entitled to the new unpaid family and domestic violence leave entitlements.
Some businesses may provide paid or unpaid family and domestic violence leave entitlements in their employment contracts or workplace policies. The amount of leave and pay entitlements will depend on the contract or policy. If an employment contract or workplace policy provides less than the minimum entitlement in the applicable award, the award entitlement still applies.
If you have a query regarding the family & domestic violence leave and/or award, please contact one of our payroll accountants on (02) 9223 9166 to discuss. Alternatively, you can submit an online enquiry form