Family and domestic violence leave entitlements.

As of 1 August 2018, employees covered by modern awards will be entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

If an employee is covered by a modern award, their employer will be required to allow 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year, in addition, the employee other leave entitlements.

This entitlement will be available to the majority of employees, but does not apply to employees who are:

  1. covered by enterprise awards;
  2. covered by state reference public sector awards;
  3. covered by enterprise and other registered agreements; or
  4. award and agreement free.

These changes have come about following a decision by the Fair Work Commission to update all modern awards to include a clause allowing for leave to assist employees affected by family violence.

Following this decision, employees may take unpaid leave if the employee:

  1. is experiencing family and domestic violence; and
  2. needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence and it is impractical for the employee to do that thing outside their ordinary hours of work.

Reasons for taking leave may include: making arrangements to ensure the safety of the employee’s family, an urgent court hearing and accessing police services.

The employee should provide notice that leave will be taken as soon as practicable.

An employer may request evidence that would satisfy the reasonable person that such leave was required in the circumstances.  However, employers should be mindful that they must take reasonably practicable steps to keep any information about an employee’s situation confidential.

If you would like more information on this issue, please contact Kim Jones at Bailiwick Legal – or call (08) 9321 5451. 

The above information is a summary and overview of the matters discussed. This publication does not constitute legal advice and you should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.


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