Family And Domestic Violence Leave

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Following a decision from the Fair Work Commission, employees will be entitled to take unpaid family and domestic violence leave effective from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018.

Family and domestic violence has been defined by the Fair Work Commission as “violent, threatening, or other abusive behaviours by a family member of an employee that seeks to coerce or control the employee and that causes them harm or to be fearful.”

So what do you need to know about this new leave entitlement?

  • All employees, including casual employees, are entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave;
  • It is available in full to part-time and casual employees;
  • The leave does not accumulate; and
  • It is available at the start of each 12 month period of the employees’ employment.

Industry and occupation awards will soon be updated by the Fairwork Ombudsman to include the leave entitlements.

Notice and Evidence Requirements

Like sick leave, employees have to give their employer notice that they wish to access family and domestic violence leave as soon as possible and let their employer know how long they expect to be away from work.

Employers can also ask the employee to provide evidence. The evidence has to be enough to “convince a reasonable person” that the employee is accessing the leave to deal with family and domestic violence. For example, evidence may include the following; a statutory declaration, a document issued by the police service, a court, or a family violence support service.

So what do employers need to do to accommodate the changes?

Firstly, employers should consider how they will manage family and domestic violence leave in their workplace. Employers will need to give careful consideration as to how the process will be managed. A balance will need to be achieved in relation to ensuring the confidentiality of sensitive information versus ensuring the safety of an employee who may be experiencing family and domestic violence.

Employers will also need to consider how they will help facilitate the new leave requirement throughout their organisation. For example, communicating with staff so that they understand their entitlement and the process they need to follow to access family and domestic violence leave. Employers may also wish to provide support to Supervisors who are managing employees experiencing family and domestic violence.

It is recommended that employers update existing policies or implement a new standalone policy to incorporate the new entitlements for family and domestic violence leave.

Do you need assistance implementing family and domestic violence leave entitlements into your organisation? Contact our team of experienced HR Consultants at Preston HR today on 4052 0709.