FWC rules on paid domestic violence leave

The FWC has ruled on the ACTU’s bid for 10 days paid domestic violence leave in all modern workplace agreements

FWC rules on paid domestic violence leave

The Fair Work Commission has rejected an Australian Council of Trade Unions bid for 10 days paid domestic violence leave in all modern workplace agreements.

The full bench of the commission declared it is “not satisfied” it is necessary, or that paid leave would overcome the disruption to workplace participation.

“We have formed the preliminary view that it is necessary to make provision for family and domestic violence leave but for reasons explained in this decision, have decided to dismiss the ACTU’s application because we are not satisfied, at this time, that it is necessary to provide ten days paid family and domestic violence leave to all employees covered by modern awards,” the decision reads.

The full bench of the commission have, however, formed the preliminary view that all employees should have access to unpaid family and domestic violence leave, and that employees should be able to access personal/carer’s leave for the purpose of taking family and domestic violence leave.

“We note that the parties have not had an opportunity to make submissions or call evidence on these matters and we intend to provide the parties with such an opportunity prior to finalising our decision.”  

The claim was raised by the ACTU as part of the four-yearly review of modern workplace awards.

The FWC said while it rejected the ACTU's claim, that did not mean a future finding that paid leave was needed was off the table.

The commission now wants to convene to hear submissions on unpaid leave and accessing personal or carer's leave for family violence reasons.

The ACTU President Ged Kearney said the ACTU is disappointed that the FWC has not awarded paid leave at this time.

However, she said this decision is the first step in the fight to ensure working people trying to deal with or recover from family and domestic violence have both job and financial security.

“Australia will become the first country in the world to have a nationally enshrined right to family and domestic violence leave,” said Kearney.

“The Australian union movement is at the forefront of changing the rules to make working people’s lives better and the FWC acknowledged this when it commended the social utility of the ACTU’s claim, but we acknowledge there is more to do in this critically important area.”

Kearney added that the FWC accepted that family and domestic violence is a social and workplace issue with widespread impacts, and that workplace rights must keep pace with community expectations.

“Family and domestic violence leave predominantly impacts women, leading to financial hardship, job insecurity and ultimately safety risks for families and people affected,” she said.

“While the FWC has not been able to hand down a decision for paid leave at this time, it has left the door open for it in the future and we will fight until it is a workplace right for all.”



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