On 16 May 2022, the Fair Work Commission (Commission) arrived at a provisional view that full time and part time employees who are covered by a modern award should be entitled to 10 days of paid family domestic violence (FDV) leave per year (Decision). Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has committed his newly elected Labor government to inserting a provision for 10 days of paid FDV leave into the National Employment Standards.
In reaching its decision, the Commission found that after the age of 15, approximately 1 in 4 women, compared to 1 in 13 men, experience at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner. It is estimated that the aggregate cost to the economy of violence against women is substantial and is estimated to cost employers $2 billion annually.
Who will be entitled to FDV leave?
The Commission’s provisional view is that all full-time employees and part-time employees on a pro rata basis who are covered by a modern award should be entitled to 10 days of paid FDV leave per year.
What does this mean for employers with award covered employees?
Employers with award covered employees will need to account for the additional leave in their payroll system. It is expected that the 10 days of paid FDV leave will accrue progressively over the year and will be paid at the employees’ base rate of pay. The leave will be subject to a ‘cap’, ensuring that no employee is able to accrue more than 10 days of FDV leave at any given time. By agreement between the employer and employee, the leave will be accessible in advance of the employee accruing an entitlement to it.
The Commission noted in its Decision that the cost of the FDV leave is not expected to be substantial and will be outweighed by the benefits. Some benefits of providing FDV include:
- encouraging and supporting women’s participation in the workforce;
- reducing absenteeism; and
- providing competitive workplace policies that attract prospective employees.
Employers should continue to stay up to date as the Decision is implemented into modern awards, and potentially the National Employment Standards (the Albanese Labor government has indicated support for this law reform). When this occurs, employers should update relevant employment contracts to refer to the new entitlement.
More information and assistance
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Published: 15 June 2022