From 1 August 2018 all employees under modern awards – full-time, part-time and casual – have an entitlement to 5 days unpaid leave to deal with family or domestic violence issues.
The Fair Work Commission decided in their four-yearly review to add a new model term into all modern awards. The Full Bench concluded that:
…retaining employment is an important pathway out of violent relationships. Conversely, a lack of financial security has an adverse impact on the ability to recover from family and domestic violence. Absent an entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave, employees will be reliant on the goodwill of their employer to obtain the leave necessary to deal with the various issues arising from family and domestic violence while remaining in employment.
The model clause will allow unpaid leave for family or domestic violence reasons which are defined as… violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a family member that seeks to coerce or control the employee and that causes them harm or to be fearful.
The unpaid leave may be taken for such reasons as to make safety arrangements for the employee or a family member, to attend court, or to access police services.
Employees are not required to access paid holiday or sick leave first before taking the unpaid domestic violence leave.
The leave is available in full at the start of each 12-month period of the employee’s employment, does not accrue and is available to full-time, part-time and casual employees.
Our Employment Law guide has been updated.