A guaranteed entitlement of five days’ unpaid family and domestic violence leave will be accessible for up to six million Australians following the passage of legislation last week.

The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 extends the decision of the Fair Work Commission in March 2018 to grant five days’ unpaid leave to employees covered by modern awards to all employees covered by the Fair Work Act.

The Bill won’t become law until it receives Royal Assent by the Governor-General. When the Bill receives Royal Assent, it will change the Fair Work Act 2009 to include an entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards (NES).

The Commission made its decision after carefully considering extensive evidence and submissions from unions, employers and other interested parties. It indicated it would revisit consideration of this issue in mid-2021.

“This historic change to the law will enshrine a minimum standard for family and domestic violence leave to all Australians covered by the Fair Work Act,” Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said.

“Regardless of the basis of their employment or the size of their employer, this change will provide a universal safety net entitlement for workers under the Fair Work Act.”

The changes follows the recent announcement of additional initiatives to combat family and domestic violence in the $109 million Women’s Economic Security Statement in November.

AMMA is aware of greater interests from resource sector employers seeking advice about recognising domestic violence in their workplace arrangements (whether through contracts of employment, policies or enterprise agreements).

To learn more about the implications for employers, click here.

The Australian Government-funded national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service 1800 Respect (1800 737 732 and www.1800respect.org.au) is another resource available for employers.

AMMA’s expert workplace relations consultations are on-hand to assist members with the introduction of family and domestic violence leave entitlements for award-covered employees, as well as advise on best practice / industry trends in employer policies and initiatives in this area. For advice and support contact your local AMMA office