On 1 August 2018, all industry and occupation awards were updated to include unpaid family and domestic violence leave, meaning that only employees who were covered by industry and occupation awards had access to this entitlement. However, a recent change to the National Employment Standards has now expanded this entitlement further meaning that all employees, including those not covered by a modern award, now have access to this entitlement.
On 6 December 2018 the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 passed both Houses of Parliament. This Bill received royal assent on 12 December 2018. As a result, the Fair Work Act 2009 and the National Employment Standards have now been amended to include an entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
This change will mean that all employees (both award covered and award free) have an entitlement to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.
Family and domestic violence is deemed to be violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a close relative of an employee that:
- seeks to coerce or control the employee
- causes the employee harm or to be fearful.
A close relative of the employee is a person who:
- is a member of the employee’s immediate family, or
- is related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.
Employees can take this leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it's impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.
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