In May 2022 the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) issued a provisional decision to include paid family and domestic violence leave in all Modern Awards for permanent employees. Currently under the National Employment Standard (NES) and Modern Awards, all employees (including part-time and casuals) are entitled to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year.
Once finalised, the FWC decision will enhance domestic violence leave to 10 days of paid leave per year for full-time employees and for part-time employees on a pro-rata basis. Casual employees will not be entitled to paid leave. The leave will be paid at the employee’s base rate of pay, shall accrue progressively across the year, and accumulate from year to year, but will be subject to a ‘cap’, whereby the total accrual does not exceed 10 days at any given time.
The FWC observed that family and domestic violence is a workplace issue that disproportionately affects women and has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The adverse workplace-related impact on those who experience it included:
The FWC ruled the leave should be paid for employees to maintain their employment and financial security while dealing with the effects of family and domestic violence. If it was not paid, employees would be less inclined to take it, resulting in inability to relocate, attend court proceedings, or obtain medical treatment or other forms of support, which may inhibit them from leaving violent relationships.
The Federal Labor Government has also promised to legislate to amend the NES to provide for 10 days’ paid family and domestic violence leave.
The FWC has asked for input from interested parties on the proposed entitlement before making a final decision, which is expected towards the end of June 2022.
Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For further information, call ECA Legal on (08) 6241 6129 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.