The Fair Work Commission has ruled that all Australian employees covered by modern awards will be entitled to five days of unpaid leave if they are affected by family or domestic violence.

In 2017, a Full Bench rejected an ACTU claim for paid family and domestic violence leave.

Instead, the Full Bench decided to provide five days’ unpaid leave per annum to all employees (including casuals) experiencing family and domestic violence. Such leave will be available in the event that the employee needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence, and it is impractical for them to do it outside their ordinary hours of work.

The Full Bench decided to defer its consideration of whether employees should be able to access paid personal/carer’s leave for the purpose of taking family and domestic violence leave.

The Full Bench also adopted the conclusion in the Majority Decision that “the circumstances faced by employees who experience family and domestic violence require a special response”, and stated that family and domestic violence is a community issue and requires a community response.

A “model term” outlining the exact clause to be included in the modern award is yet to be drafted, and will be reviewed at a hearing on 1 May 2018.

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