The Australian Government has introduced new laws to provide for a guaranteed five days’ family and domestic violence leave.

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 other employees covered by the Fair Work Act.

“This new legislation will see up to six million additional workers guaranteed access to this important, new workplace right without delay,” Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said.

“All in all, eight million workers will have access to this new guarantee.”

With many small businesses employing their staff under modern awards, their staff already have access to the leave based on the Fair Work Commission’s decision, the Minister said.

“Our reform will ensure big businesses, which are more likely to employ staff under enterprise agreements and individual arrangements, will also need to provide the minimum five day domestic and family violence leave entitlement,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.

The Fair Work Commission decided to provide five days’ unpaid leave after carefully considering evidence and submissions from unions, employers and other interested parties. The Commission indicated it will revisit the issue in mid-2021.

This new reform will provide a guaranteed minimum entitlement that must be applied to every employee covered by the Fair Work Act. It does not preclude employers applying their own additional domestic and family violence policies and practices.

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.