Family and Domestic Violence
Family and domestic violence are violent, threatening or other abusive behaviours in the workplace by a family member of an employee that seeks to coerce or control the employee and that causes them to harm or to be fearful.
A family member includes:
- a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee; or
- a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a spouse or de facto partner of the employee; or
- a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.
Leave Entitlement - Federal
In a recent decision, the Fair Work Commission decided that it is appropriate for employees covered by Federal employment laws who are experiencing family and domestic violence to be entitled to additional leave. In making this decision, the Fair Work Commission stated that “family and domestic violence is a community issue and requires a community response”.
Following on from the Fair Work Commission’s decision, on 1 August 2018, all Federal modern awards were amended to provide five days’ unpaid leave each year to all employees experiencing family and domestic violence. This leave is also available in the event that an employee needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence and it is impractical for them to do that thing outside their ordinary hours of work. For example, this may include making arrangements for their safety or the safety of their family, attending urgent court hearings, or accessing police services.
The new unpaid leave entitlement:
- Applies to all employees
- Is available in full at the commencement of each 12 month period of employment (rather than accruing progressively during the year)
- Will does not accumulate from year to year
- Will be available in full to part-time and casual employees and will not be pro-rated for those employees.
Importantly, there is no requirement for employees to access any available paid leave entitlement before accessing this unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
Leave Entitlement - State
The introduction of family and domestic violence leave in the Federal system follows the recent introduction of domestic and family violence leave for employees in the State system.
The following leave entitlements were introduced for employees in the State System in 2017:
- Part-time and full-time employees are entitled to 10 days paid leave if they have experienced domestic violence and need to take leave as a result of the domestic violence
- Long term casual employees are entitled to 10 unpaid days of leave if they have experienced domestic violence and need to take leave as a result of the domestic violence
- A short-term casual is entitled to 2 unpaid days of leave if they have experienced domestic violence and need to take leave as a result of the domestic violence
Examples of when leave may be required to be taken by an employee include if they are recovering from an injury caused by the violence, attending an appointment related to the violence or attending court for a proceeding related to the violence.
As with the Federal system, an employee’s entitlement to domestic and family violence leave does not accumulate from year to year in the State system.
It is important for both employers and employees to be aware of the rules regarding domestic violence leave.
To find out more about the recent changes to leave entitlements, contact Preston Law in Cairns. Our Employment Lawyers are up to date with all the recent legal changes to leave entitlements in Queensland and can offer advice when needed. Contact Preston Law in Cairns for more information.