Developments in the domestic violence leave case
03 Jul 2017
The remaining members of the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission have today handed down their much anticipated decision in the domestic violence leave test case.
In a joint decision, Deputy President Gooley and Commissioner Spencer declined the ACTU’s claim for 10 days’ paid family and domestic violence leave entitlements to be introduced into all modern awards.
However, the two members of the Full Bench expressed the provisional view that all employees should have access to unpaid family and domestic violence leave, and also that employees should be able to access personal/carer’s leave for the purpose of taking family and domestic violence leave.
In their joint decision, Deputy President Gooley and Commissioner Spencer found that family and domestic violence is a significant problem which has far-ranging impacts on the community. They also concluded that family and domestic violence is a workplace issue which requires a workplace response. More specifically, they found that existing statutory protections and entitlements are inadequate to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence, and that a “special response” is needed.
Today’s joint decision follows the earlier decision of the third member of the Full Bench, Vice President Watson, who handed down his decision on 27 February 2017 and also declined the ACTU claim.
Where to from here?
The decision leaves open the prospect of modern awards being varied to include entitlements to unpaid domestic violence leave. The Commission has indicated that it intends to prepare a proposed clause for the parties’ consideration, with further proceedings to be held in the future.
ABLA played a lead role in these proceedings on behalf of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the New South Wales Business Chamber and Australian Business Industrial. Accordingly, ABLA is well placed to assist businesses in the area of domestic violence in the workplace. Feel free to contact us on 1300 565 846 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.