New Domestic Violence Clause

From 1 August 2018 all employees covered by Modern Awards will have access to a new form of leave: Leave to deal with Family and Domestic Violence.

The new entitlement has arisen from long running proceedings in the 4 Yearly Review in which Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors played the leading role on behalf of employers.

The finalisation of the new entitlement follows the Fair Work Commission’s decision in July 2017 to reject the ACTU’s claim for 10 days paid leave.

The new entitlement will be to 5 days unpaid leave accessible where an employee:

a) is experiencing family and domestic violence; and

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

This could include, by way of example, making arrangements for their safety or the safety of a family member (including relocation), attending urgent court hearings, or accessing police services.

The new entitlement differs from standard forms of leave under the Fair Work Act 2009 in that it:
• is available ‘in full’ (i.e. 5 days) at the start of each 12 month period of an employee’s employment;
• applies to all employees, including casuals;
• does not accumulate from year to year and does not accrue during a year.

Things to Consider

The clause also places obligations on employers to take steps to ensure that information collected in relation to the taking of leave remains confidential, as far as is reasonably practicable.

Employers should consider whether they have adequate policies and processes in place to ensure that any requests received in relation to the new entitlement are dealt with appropriately and sensitively.

Where to go for help?

If you would like any further advice in relation to this new entitlement or need help with your employee contracts, please do not hesitate to contact Total HRM on 1800 868 254.