Earlier this year, the Fair Work Commission incorporated Family and Domestic Violence Leave into Modern Awards. The Federal Parliament has now followed suit and extended the entitlement of Family and Domestic Violence Leave to all employees covered by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), including those employed on a full time, part time or casual basis.
The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2018 commenced on 12 December 2018 and amends the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) to provide employees with 5 days of non- cumulative unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave (FDVL) each year. The FDVL provisions are largely consistent with those now incorporated in the Modern Awards.
Employees are entitled to use the leave if they are experiencing ‘family and domestic violence’ and the employee needs to act urgently (e.g. taking steps to arrange for their own safety, or that of a close relative, or to access police services). The leave is to be taken in circumstances where it would be impractical to take action outside of the employee’s ordinary hours of work.
Family and domestic violence is defined as violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a close relative of the employee that seeks to coerce or control the employee or causes the employee harm or to be fearful.
Employers must, as far as reasonably practicable to do so, take steps to protect the confidentiality of information relating to a person’s requested family and domestic leave. Accordingly, all employers should review and update their policies, procedures and employment contracts to accommodate the new FDVL provisions and to ensure they have processes to lawfully manage this new leave entitlement.
This article is provided by way of general information only and is not legal advice. Always obtain your own independent legal advice tailored to your business’ particular circumstances before making decisions relating to the legal issues referred to above. In this regard, we’re here to help.