FWC rules on family-friendly working hours and domestic violence leave

Millions of Australian workers will now be able to access unpaid domestic violence

FWC rules on family-friendly working hours and domestic violence leave

The Fair Work Commission has ruled on union requests for changes to workplace flexibility procedures and paid domestic violence leave.

The union claims were lodged as part of the four-yearly review of modern awards.

The full bench of the FWC concurred with employer groups that a right to 'family-friendly work hours' would prevent management’s ability to control rosters and could have a significantly negative impact on businesses.

The industrial umpire has recommended that employers be required to confer with employees to try to reach agreement on flexible work and provide an extensive explanation of reasons for a decision to refuse it.

The Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said the decision was the right call.

"If the ACTU’s claims had been accepted, all awards would have been varied to give employees the right to dictate to their employer what hours and days they work, with the employer having no right to refuse regardless of the circumstances," said Innes.

“The Commission has drafted a model clause aimed at facilitating discussion between employers and employees about flexible work arrangements rather than imposing outcomes upon employers, and has called for submissions on the model clause."

Moreover, the FWC has announced that millions of Australian workers will be able to access five days' unpaid domestic violence leave a year, however it refused the ACTU's push for 10 days' paid leave.

The new leave provisions are estimated to be available for 2.3 million Australian workers on modern awards.

The leave will be available to employees who are not able to deal with the impact of domestic violence outside the ordinary hours of work.

The ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, cited research which shows that it costs $18,000 and takes 141 hours - nearly all during business hours - to escape an abusive relationship.

"Millions or workers have been denied their rights today as a result of this broken FWC decision," said McManus.

"It's completely unacceptable that women have to choose between abuse and protecting their children and keeping their job."

If elected, the Australian Labor Party has said that it will legislate for 10 days’ paid leave.

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