Published on Sep 24, 2018
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The Fair Work Commission has updated many federal 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.
What is the entitlement?
Employees covered by the new clause are entitled to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.
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 of work. For example, this could include:
- making arrangements for their safety, or safety of a family member (including relocation)
- attending family violence support service
- attending court hearings, or
- accessing police services.
The leave doesn’t need to be taken all at once. It can be taken as single or multiple days. An employer and employee can also agree for an employee to take less than 1 day at a time, or for the employee to take more than 5 days.
Who is entitled to family and domestic violence leave?
All employees (including casual employees) who are covered by an award with the new clause are entitled to the leave. Some awards such as: enterprise and state reference public sector awards don’t include the new unpaid leave entitlement.
However, employees covered by those awards 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.
Men and women are both targets of domestic violence
While domestic violence is predominantly perpetrated on women, it can also affect men. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare one woman is killed by an intimate partner or ex-partner per week and one man is killed by his partner every month. In 2014-15, 2,800 women and 560 men were hospitalised after being assaulted by a spouse or partner. Employers shouldn’t assume men are exempt from domestic violence. Statistics show many men also suffer but are afraid or embarrassed to come forward.
How is the leave accessed?
The leave is taken in the same way as any other leave entitlement. The leave does not accrue from year to year.