The Fair Work Commission has decided to include a model clause in all 122 modern awards that entitles all employees (including casuals) to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
The Decision states that family and domestic violence is a community issue and requires a community response.”
What is family or domestic violence leave?
Family or domestic violence leave will be available in the event that the employee needs leave to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence and it is impractical for them to do it outside their ordinary hours of work.
This could include by way of example, making arrangements for their safety or the safety of a family member (including relocation), attending urgent court hearings, or accessing police services.
How does the leave accrue?
Five days of unpaid leave will be available at the commencement of each 12 month period rather than accruing progressively during a year of service.
The leave will not accumulate from year to year.
Most significantly, the full five days of unpaid leave will be available to part-time and casual employees. This is different to some other forms of leave (eg; annual leave) which are pro-rated for part-time employees or not provided at all to casuals employees.
What is a model clause?
A model clause means the terms of the clause will be identical in all 122 modern awards and will be finalised in the coming weeks.
ABLA will be participating in the drafting of the model clause on behalf of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Business Industrial, NSW Business Chamber and all of the business’ that are members of these organisations.
The extent to which the new entitlement to unpaid leave will be utilised is unknown, as is the impact of the new entitlement on business.
As a result the Commission proposes to revisit the issue in 2021, after the model term has been in operation for three years.
At that time the Commission will consider:
- whether any changes are needed to the unpaid leave model clause;
- whether to allow access to personal/carer’s leave (for the purposes of family or domestic violence leave); and
- whether the Commission should re-visit the possibility of paid family and domestic violence leave in modern awards.
If there are any issues within your business that might give rise to a claim, early intervention is the best protection. Feel free to contact us on 1300 565 846 if this raises any questions.
ABLA are the leading law firm involved in the proceedings and represent the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the New South Wales Business Chamber and Australian Business Industrial.