Parliament has passed the Family and Domestic Violence Bill on 6th December and will be enacted prior to the New Year.
Essentially all employees including casuals are able to take 5 days unpaid leave per year to address issues relating to family/domestic violence.
The National Employment Standards defines immediate family as:
A member of the employee’s immediate family means
- a spouse,
- de facto partner,
- or sibling of an employee;
- or a child,
- or sibling of the employee’s spouse or de facto partner.
AFEI circular regarding Fair Work Act amendment: Family and Domestic Violence Leave
7 December 2018
Family and Domestic Violence Leave Bill (Cth)
On 6 December 2018 Parliament passed the Fair Work Amendment (Domestic and Family Violence Leave) Bill 2018 (the Bill).
The Bill provides all types of employees, including casuals, with an entitlement to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave in a 12 month period. This new entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave in the national employment standards (NES) is, as far as possible, consistent with the new modern award entitlement that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) inserted into all modern awards, which took effect from 1 August 2018.
This amendment to the NES applies to all employees covered by the Fair Work Act, not only those covered by awards.
In line with the FWC ’s award clause, the entitlement in the Bill:
• provides five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave in a 12 month period;
• applies to all types of employees, including casual employees;
• is available in full at the commencement of each 12 month period, rather than accruing through the year;
• does not accumulate from year to year; and
• is available in full to part-time and casual employees, rather than pro-rated. Unpaid family and domestic violence leave can be accessed by employees if:
• they are experiencing family and domestic violence; and
• needs to do something to deal with the impact of that family and domestic violence; and
• it is impractical to do that thing outside of their ordinary hours of work. The employee may take unpaid family and domestic violence leave as:
• a single continuous 5 day period; or
• separate periods of one or more days each; or
• any separate periods to which the employee and the employer agree, including periods of less than one day.
Employers need to be aware that they are now under an obligation to ensure that information concerning any notice an employee has given, or evidence an employee has provided, on the taking of family and domestic violence leave is treated confidentially, as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so.
These amendments to the NES will take effect the day after the Bill receives royal assent, which is likely to be before the end of this year.