The new Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Recently the Fair Work Commission officially announced a new leave type for many Australian employees titled Family and Domestic Violence Leave. While it may have been news to some, those in Industrial Relations and/or Human Resources circles have been discussing the concept for a number of years now. In particular, I recall from my enterprise bargaining days that unions had been pushing for it for some time.  In my view, any leave that allows an employee to deal with the impacts of domestic violence can only be a good thing, and personally I applaud the decision to make this its own leave type.

From the employer’s perspective, there are some important points to be aware of in order for you to appropriately manage this new leave.  So let’s learn more about Family and Domestic Violence Leave.

What you need to know

  • This new leave type applies to all employees covered under an industry or occupation award. Many SMEs hire award covered staff, so make sure if your business does, it prepares for this leave type if it hasn’t already.
  • The new leave allows employees to take leave from work if they need to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and its impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.
  • Employees can take up to 5 days each year as unpaid leave.
  • The 5 days can be taken as one day or as multiple days, or if mutually agreed it can be taken in part days.
  •  If unused, it does not roll over to the next year, as in the case of other types of leave such as personal leave.
  • Employers can ask employees for evidence that reasonably satisfies them that the employee had to take the leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.

What you need to do

All employers of staff covered by a modern award should have updated their workplace policies by now to include Family and Domestic Violence Leave. These changes should have also be appropriately communicated to all staff.

If you haven’t yet updated your policies and wish to outsource this task to Nexus HR so that you can be compliant, contact us on 1300 15 10 11 or send us a message here and we will come back to you to discuss.

Written by Shelly Baker, Director of Nexus Human Resources 

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