Autumn-leaves

Modern Award covered employees entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave

Modern Award covered employees will soon have access to unpaid leave if they are affected by family or domestic violence, in a move to minimise its devastating impact on individuals and the community.

The Fair Work Commission Tribunal has ruled that employees covered by Modern Awards will soon have access to five days’ unpaid family and domestic violence leave annually. The ruling followed an unsuccessful union push for 10 days’ paid family and domestic violence leave.

Unpaid family and domestic violence leave will be able to be taken in the event that an  employee covered by the proposed clause needs to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence, and to do so outside of their ordinary hours of work is impractical.

The FWC has drafted a model clause, which provides:

  1. an employee is entitled to 5 days’ unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence;
  2. unpaid parents and domestic violence leave does not accumulate from year to year, rather the entitlement is available at the start of each 12 month period;
  3. an employee may take more than 5 days’ unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence with the agreement of their employer; and
  4. employees may access unpaid family and domestic violence leave before having to take any other paid leave entitlement.

Interested parties are able to provide comment on the draft model clause by 1 June 2018, with a further mention scheduled for 21 June 2018.

Once finalised the model clause will be inserted into all Modern Awards. Following this, to ensure consistency for all employees covered by the national workplace system, legislation is expected to be introduced into parliament to extend the same entitlement to family and domestic violence leave to employees covered by the Fair Work Act.

If you have queries regarding entitlements to unpaid family and domestic violence leave, please contact us.

This article was written by Kelly Ralph, Associate – Workplace Relations and Annabelle Uebergang, Lawyer – Workplace Relations.