As foreshadowed in our earlier update, Family and Domestic Violence leave will soon be a National Employment Standard which applies to all Australian employees regardless of award coverage.
After the introduction of family and domestic violence leave (FDV leave) into all modern awards in August this year, a bill passed both houses of the federal parliament last week to enshrine FDV leave as the eleventh National Employment Standard, meaning that all Australian workers will be eligible for FDV leave, regardless of award coverage.
The purpose of FDV leave is to provide employees who are experiencing family and domestic violence with support and to assist them in maintaining workforce participation – where in other circumstances employees may have felt they had no other option but to resign their employment.
The new National Employment Standard will mirror the FDV provisions which already apply under modern awards, such that all Australian workers, whether full-time, part time or casual, will be entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave in order to deal with the impacts of family and domestic violence.
These 5 days accumulate all at once from the moment that an employee is first employed and refresh to the full 5 day entitlement every twelve months. This means that the FDV leave days do not accumulate from year to year (contrasted with annual leave and personal leave which accrue progressively and are cumulative).
It is of course open to larger employers to provide more generous FDV leave entitlements which exceed the minimum standards under modern awards/legislation.
The new legislated FDV leave entitlements will not take effect until the bill has been given royal assent, however employers are encouraged to get up to speed with the new Standard in preparation for its commencement, including updating leave policies as appropriate.