Following a recent change to the Fair Work Act, all employees can now take unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence as part of the National Employment Standards (NES).
On 12 December 2018, the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2018 took effect. This now includes an entitlement of 5 unpaid family and domestic violence leave days a year, and applies to all employees, including part – time and casuals.
The Fair Work Ombudsmen defines family and domestic violence as “violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a close relative of an employee that:
- seeks to coerce or control the employee
- causes the employee harm or to be fearful.
A close relative of the employee is a person who:
- is a member of the employee’s immediate family, or
- is related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.”
Employees can take the leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it's impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.
For all employees covered by industry and occupation awards, the amount of the entitlement hasn’t changed. However, the recent changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 mean that all employees now have access to this leave entitlement, regardless of whether they’re covered by an award or not.
The successful implementation of this change creates a reminder for organisations to review and amend leave policies and procedures to include this leave type.
For more information on when and how the leave can be taken, as well as notice and evidence requirements, please visit https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/family-and-domestic-violence-leave for information.
If you have any queries surrounding this change or your obligations around supporting employees currently experiencing domestic violence, please start the conversation with our team of experts.