FWC increases family and domestic violence paid leave

18 May 2022

On 16 May 2022 the Fair Work Commission (FWC) handed down a decision as part of its ongoing review of Modern Award entitlements, including in relation to Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) leave.

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The FWC decision is: “full time employees and, on a pro-rata basis, part-time employees should be entitled to 10 days paid FDV per year”.

The Commission’s view is that family and domestic violence is a workplace issue that requires a workplace response.

Importantly, the FWC did not extend the proposed paid FDV leave entitlement to casual employees, and has offered no view on whether the National Employment Standards (NES) should also be amended to provide for paid FDV leave. Amendments to the NES are something likely to be discussed after the federal election.

The decision was made following a claim made by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) that the existing entitlement to five days’ unpaid FDV leave under the NES should be bolstered by amending Modern Awards to provide for 10 days of paid FDV Leave.

What does this mean for business?

Businesses will need to monitor the relevant Modern Awards that apply to their operations and watch for amendments introducing paid FDV leave entitlements.

The parties involved in the review have been ordered to provide the FWC with a draft model term (which would then be used as the basis for amending individual Modern Awards) by Friday 17 June 2022, and changes to Modern Awards can be expected to start flowing through after that date.

Businesses should note Modern Awards provide for a minimum ‘safety net’. Therefore, businesses should review their existing terms and conditions of employment (for example, in contracts and enterprise agreements) as some may already offer FDV leave entitlements equal to or better than what the Commission sets out in this decision.

The Victorian Chamber will continue to lobby Government to ensure the voice of business is heard and considered in relation to this and other changes.

Employers who want to better understand their FDV Leave obligations can contact VCCI’s workplace relations advice line on 03 8662 5222.

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