New domestic violence leave entitlements come into force

A Fair Work Commission decision created a new entitlement for most Australian employees; unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

The Fair Work decision provides five days’ unpaid leave per annum to all employees (including casuals) experiencing family and domestic violence. The leave will also be available in the event that an employee needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence such as attend court or access police services.

Applying from the first pay period from 1 August 2018, the entitlement covers all employees except some enterprise and State public sector award employees, and Award free employees. The leave does not accumulate from year to year and does not have to be taken all at once.

Employees taking the leave will need to let their employers know as soon as practicable and advise how long they intend to be off work. It’s important that employers that have an employee facing domestic violence manage the issue sensitively and confidentially.

Employers can request evidence of the need for family and domestic violence leave such as documents issued by the police service, documents issued by a court, family violence support service documents, or a statutory declaration.
See the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website, Family & domestic violence leave for more information.

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