New Employee Entitlement – Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Family and Domestic Violence leave terms have now been incorporated into all Modern Awards (from 1 August 2018).

What is it Family and Domestic Violence Leave?

Employees can take this leave to deal with the impact of Family and Domestic Violence and it is impractical to do so outside of their ordinary hours of work.

What is Family and Domestic Violence (as far as the entitlement is concerned)?

Family and Domestic Violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee; or
  • causes them harm or fear.

Who is entitled to this new Leave?

The new terms mean that all award covered employees (including casuals) are now entitled to five days unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave.

How is the leave taken?

It is available, in full, from the start of employment and from the start of each 12 month period (it does not accrue or accumulate).  The entitlement to five days unpaid leave applies to all employees covered by an award – there is no pro-rata entitlement for part time etc.

Who is not entitled to this Leave?

The entitlement does not apply to employees who are:

  • covered by Enterprise Awards (unless clauses in regards to Family and Domestic Violence Leave are already included);
  • covered by State Reference Public Sector Awards (unless clauses in regards to Family and Domestic Violence Leave are already included);
  • covered by Enterprise and Other Registered Agreements (unless clauses in regards to Family and Domestic Violence Leave are already included); and
  • award and agreement free.

The above documents may be amended in the future

Is the employee required to give notice of taking the leave?

The employee must give the employer notice as soon as reasonably practicable and advise the employer of the period, or expected period of the leave

Can we ask for evidence from an employee wishing to take this leave Leave?

You may ask for evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that the leave is being taken for the reasons stated.

Confidentiality of the situation

Employers are required to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the confidentiality of any information provided by the employee is maintained.

We recommend:

  • You immediately review the awards applicable to your business to better understand your obligations in regards to these requirements.
  • Amending leave policies and agreements to ensure you are compliant with the new requirements;
  • Review and establish procedures for managing the new entitlements to ensure you are compliant with the notice, evidence and confidentiality requirements.

Getting further assistance

Please contact us if you would like assistance in implementing the above recommendations.

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