Last year we wrote a post about family and domestic violence leave being introduced into Federal modern awards. At that stage, this additional leave was only available to employees in the Federal employment system that were covered by a modern award.
However, on 12 December 2018, the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2018 (Cth) took effect. That act amended the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to introduce a new entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave for all national system employees.
This now means that all employees in Cairns (regardless of whether they are a national system employee or a public service employee) are now entitled to family and domestic violence leave of some sort.
Family and Domestic Violence for National System Employees
The changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) introduced an entitlement for national system employees to access five days of unpaid leave, on an annual basis, to deal with family and domestic violence. This leave can be accessed if an employee is:
- Experiencing family and domestic violence; and
- Needs time off to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence because it is impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours.
This entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave extends to all employees, including part-time and casual employees. The full entitlement of 5 days unpaid leave is available in full at the commencement of each 12 month period. This means that the entitlement does not accrue on a pro rata basis like most other leave entitlements.
Employees are entitled to take family and domestic violence leave in separate periods of one or more days, or all at once.
Family and Domestic Violence Leave for Queensland Public Sector Employees
Queensland public sector employees have a greater entitlement to family and domestic violence leave which is detailed in the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld).
Full time and part-time employees are entitled to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave each year. Long term casual employees are also entitled to 10 days family and domestic violence leave but their leave is unpaid. Short term casual employees are only entitled to 2 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
As with the entitlement for national system employees, family and domestic violence leave for Queensland public sector employees is also available on an annual basis at the commencement of each 12 month period.
Notice and Evidence Requirements
An employee is required to provide their employer with notice that family and domestic leave is required.
Upon receiving notice, the employer is entitled to request evidence of the need for the employee to take family and domestic violence leave. Evidence could include documents issued by the Queensland Police Service, documents issued by a Queensland Court or family violence support service, or a statutory declaration signed by the employee.
Contact Preston Law in Cairns to find out more about leave entitlements. Our Employment Lawyers are up to date with leave entitlements in Queensland and can offer advice when needed.