From 1 August 2018, unpaid leave for domestic and family violence issues will now form part of Australia’s modern awards.

The Government reports the economic impact of domestic and family violence at around $10.4 billion annually with a further $7.1 billion spent to offer support services across health and social welfare.

Whilst domestic and family violence impacts both sexes, women are disproportionately impacted.  In recognition of the issue, the Fair Work Commission has determined that unpaid family and domestic violence leave will now form part of the modern awards.

The leave entitlement will be five working days’ unpaid leave available as follows:

  • Available to all employees (Including casual workers) in full (not pro-rata);
  • Available in full at the commencement of each 12-month period (from the start of employment) rather than accruing pro-rata during the year of service;
  • Will not accumulate from year to year; and

An employee will be entitled to this leave when:

  • They experience family and domestic violence; and
  • They need to take action immediately to deal with the situation, which is not possible to do outside of work hours, which could include things such as relocation of themselves and children, attending court, or seeking assistance from support services.

Employees must give notice as soon as practicable along with an expectation of how long they will be away.  Employers can request documentation issued by the police service, court or family welfare support group, or provide a statutory declaration to support their leave.

Employers will now have to ensure that current leave provisions and entitlements are adjusted to accommodate this change.

If you are unsure how to apply this leave, or have questions please contact your advisor at PJT Accountants.   More information can be found at www.fairwork.gov.au and for confidential information counselling and support for people impacted by domestic violence, visit www.1800respect.org.au