The Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) has recently recognised the impact of family and domestic violence (“FDV”) on employees and employers in the work place. The FWC noted in its Four Yearly Review of Modern Awards (“the Review”) that employees who experience FDV often also experience disruption to workplace participation which can in turn cause financial difficulties.
As a result of the Review, changes came into effect on 1 August 2018 which apply to all modern awards and allow employees experiencing FDV to five days unpaid leave per annum (“FDV Leave”).
Employees will be able to access FDV Leave in the event that they need to do something to deal with the impact of FDV and it is impractical to do so outside ordinary working hours. The employee is required to provide evidence to the employer that the leave has been taken for this purpose. Depending on the circumstances, such evidence may be documents provided by the court, police or support services. An employee who takes FDV Leave must notify their employer as soon as practicable and advise the employer of the expected period of leave. The employer must ensure that information provided by the employee in relation to FDV is kept confidential.
The full 5 days of unpaid leave is available to all employees (including casual employees) at the commencement of each 12 month period. The leave is not pro-rated for part-time employees and does not accumulate if it is not used. Employees are not required to use their paid leave entitlements prior to using FDV Leave. If FDV Leave is used, it will not break the employee’s continuity of service with the employee, but equally the period of leave does not count towards the employee’s period of service with their employer.