Family and Domestic Violence Leave

30th July 2018

A new modern award entitlement to Family and Domestic Violence Leave commences 1 August 2018. An award covered employee will be entitled to 5 days’ unpaid leave each year to deal with family and domestic violence, where it is impractical for the employee to attend to the things that they need to deal with outside their ordinary hours of work, as follows:

(a) Unpaid leave is available in full at the start of each 12 month period of the employee’s employment, and
(b) Unpaid leave does not accumulate from year to year, and
(c) Is available in full to part-time and casual employees as well as full-time employees

The new award entitlement defines family and domestic violence as violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a family member of an employee that seeks to coerce or control the employee and that causes them harm or to be fearful.

Notice and evidence

An employee taking Family and Domestic Violence leave must notify their employer as soon as practicable and advise of the expected period of leave, and may be required to provide evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that the leave is taken for the specified purpose. This may include, for example, a document issued by the police, courts or family violence support service, or a statutory declaration.

Confidentiality

Employers are obliged to ensure information acquired concerning a notice from an employee and any documentary evidence is treated confidentially. The employee must also be consulted on how their employer intends to ensure the confidentiality of the personal and sensitive information.

Policy

It is advisable for employers to create and apply a Family and Domestic Violence Leave Policy in their workplace, covering the entitlement and the administrative arrangements for an employee to access the entitlement.

Non-award employees and enterprise agreements

The modern award entitlement doesn’t apply to employees not covered by a modern award. It does not apply to employees covered by an enterprise agreement as long as that agreement continues in force.

Further advice

If you require further advice or assistance in implementing this new entitlement please contact me.