Workers can now take leave to deal with family and domestic violence
Most Australian employees can now take unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence.
The Fair Work Commission is updating all industry and occupation awards to include a new clause allowing employees to take up to five days of unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence when it's impractical to do so outside ordinary hours of work.
For example, leave could be taken so an employee can move to a safer environment or make arrangements for the safety of a family member, attend urgent court hearings, or access police services.
This new clause applies to all industry and occupation awards from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018.
However, it does not apply to employees covered by Enterprise awards, State reference public sector awards, enterprise and other registered agreements, or those who are award and agreement free.
The leave is available in full at the start of each 12 month period of the employee’s employment, and is available in full to part-time and casual employees.
Employees must give their employer notice of taking leave as soon as practicable and evidence may be required such as a document issued by police, a court or a family violence support service, or a statutory declaration.
Employers must take steps to ensure information is treated confidentially.
For more information visit www.fairwork.gov.au
Being an employer myself, I find it hard to believe that such “unpaid” leave needs to be formalized in this way. A reasonable employer wouldn’t think twice in granting leave in such circumstances. Also, with 10 days paid compassionate leave already available, I’m not sure how this will play out for employees who find themselves having to contend with domestic violence issues. It’s hard to imagine say, taking 5 days unpaid domestic violence leave while an employee had paid compassionate leave days up their sleeve.