December 10, 2018   |   Compliance

Family and domestic violence leave

The Fair Work Commission has made great strides forward by recently announcing the introduction of unpaid family and domestic violence leave to the National Employment Standards.

The Fair Work’s new family and domestic violence entitlement was added to the National Employment Standards today.

All employees covered by the Fair Work System are entitled to family and domestic violence leave from Thursday 13 December 2018.

What is considered family and domestic violence?

The Fair Work considers family and domestic violence to mean violent, threatening or other abusive behaviours by an employee’s family member that:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee
  • causes them harm or fear.

How does the family and domestic leave entitlement work?

From Thursday 13 December 2018, employees in the Fair Work System are entitled to five days of unpaid family and domestic leave.

The five days of unpaid leave is renewed annually, however, any unused days from any given year do not accumulate to the next.

Employees do not have to take all five days at once, the leave can be taken as single or multiple days.

The purpose of the leave is to allow employees impacted by family and domestic violence to manage related concerns when it is impractical to do so outside of their ordinary hours of work.

This includes (but isn’t limited to) taking time off to:

  • make arrangements for personal safety or the safety of a family member
  • attend court hearings
  • access police services.

Does it impact an employee’s continuous service?

No, unpaid family and domestic violence leave doesn’t break an employee’s period of continuous service. However, when taking the unpaid leave entitlements, it does not count as service when calculating accumulated entitlements such as paid leave.

Implementing the change

If you manage your payroll internally then you will need to add the family and domestic leave entitlement to your payroll platform.

We also suggest making your employees aware of their new family and domestic leave option to provide them with the opportunity to take advantage of this new leave entitlement.

To find out more, visit the Fair Work website.