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Paid family and domestic violence leave arrives

by | May 17, 2022 | C1: Commitment, C2: Capability

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Yesterday, the Fair Work Commission announced its decision to create an entitlement to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence for full-time employees (pro rata for part-time employees).

This is not unexpected as that level of entitlement has been in place in New Zealand for a number of years now and that has been used as a benchmark here in Australia.

The way is now clear for that entitlement to be included in modern awards. Also, don’t be surprised if this becomes a National Employment Standard as, whoever is elected on this coming weekend, they really can’t have a situation where award-free employees have no entitlement to paid family and domestic violence leave when award-covered workers do.

There is no differentiation for large versus small employers – all full-time and part-time employees will have access to the leave entitlement regardless of how many employees their employer has.

Additionally, there is allowance for the grant of family and domestic violence leave in advance of the employee actually accruing the entitlement.

Casual employees have been excluded from access to this paid leave entitlement but will still be able to assess 5 days of unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence in accordance with National Employment Standards.

One peculiarity of this decision is the way in which the leave accrues and is capped.

It accrues in the same way as personal/carer’s leave i.e. progressively throughout the year and ongoing but it is capped to a maximum of 10 days at any time.

For example, I might have an employee who takes 5 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in their first year and then none in their next year – this would mean that their entitlement would reach 10 days after 18 months service and stay at that level until such time as they used more paid family and domestic violence leave.

This is a hybrid arrangement that sits between leave that accrues progressively without cap (eg annual leave, personal/care’s leave, long service leave) and leave that is limited to a number of days or a specific period of time per occurrence (eg compassionate leave, jury service, parental leave, unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence).

That introduces yet another complication for administration of employment entitlements and modification of payroll systems to accommodate this oddity, something the Fair Work Commission seems to have a habit of doing. Perhaps it would have been better to just cap it at 10 days per annum and allow access to personal/carer’s leave for any additional leave required over and above that.

At this stage, there is no operative date – that will be dependent on the transition of the provisions to modern awards. We’ll let you know when this happens.

If you have any questions, fill out the contact us form on this website or give us a call on 0438 533 311.

 

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