Family & Domestic Violence Leave

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From 12 December 2018, all Australian employees, including casuals, will be entitled to five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year under the National Employment Standards (NES) contained in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the FW Act).

The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 extends the March 2018 Fair Work Commission (FWC) full bench decision granting five days’ unpaid leave to employees covered by modern awards. The entitlement under the NES mirrors the entitlement under modern awards.

Entitlement to Family & Domestic Violence Leave

All employees are entitled to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year to deal with family and domestic violence. This type of leave is available in full on commencement of employment but does not accumulate from year to year.

Family and domestic violence is defined under the FW Act and modern awards as “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”.

Family and domestic violence leave is available for employees who:

  • Are experiencing family and domestic violence.
  • Need to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence, where it is impractical to do so outside of ordinary hours of work.

The reasons an employee may take leave includes planning for their safety or the safety of a family member, attending urgent court hearings, or accessing police service.

Definition of Family Member

A family member for the purposes of this entitlement includes “immediate family” plus former spouses or de-facto partners and their “immediate family” and those related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

Confidentiality & Best Practice

Employers should treat requests for unpaid family and domestic violence leave with confidentiality, as far as it is practicable to do so.

Evidence Requirements

An employee may be required to produce evidence to prove his/her inability to attend for duty on the days to support the purpose of the unpaid family and domestic violence leave that is claimed. Such evidence may include a document issued by the police, a court or a family violence support service or statutory declaration.

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The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.

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