What does the new 'family and domestic violence paid leave' mean for business?

Learn about what employers should review amid Fair Work’s new decision

What does the new 'family and domestic violence paid leave' mean for business?

News had recently broken out about the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) decision to increase family and domestic violence (FDV) paid leave. HRD has also reported on the new development, but what does it really mean for employers’ HR policies and protocols?

Learn what HR needs to know about the kinds of employees that are covered and the types of agreements that could be subject to review.

As part of its ongoing review of modern award entitlements, the FWC ruled that certain employees are entitled to ten days paid FDV per year. The FWC was also firm in its view that “family and domestic violence is a workplace issue that requires a workplace response.”

What is the coverage of the increased FDV leave?

According to the FWC’s decision, the following employees are covered:

  • Full time employees;
  • Employees on a pro-rata basis; and
  • Part-time employees

It should be noted that the said FDV leave entitlements did not extend to casual employees. Meanwhile, the FWC’s decision was silent on whether the National Employment Standards (NES) should also be amended to provide for paid FDV leave.

Given the new developments, what should employers review?

In a media release, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) had offered insights on how businesses should conduct their affairs under the FWC’s decision.

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

“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 17 June 2022, and changes to Modern Awards can be expected to start flowing through after that date,” it added.

The VCCI also emphasised that modern awards provide for a “minimum safety net,” a concept that employers should prioritise in their review.

“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 FWC sets out in this decision,” the VCCI said.

‘More needs to be done’

Ultimately, the FWC concurred that “more needs to be done to prevent FDV and more needs to be done to address the consequences of such violence.”

The FWC concluded that the introduction of paid FDV leave is “not a panacea for the devastating effects of FDV,” but said “it will provide a critical mechanism for employees to maintain their employment and financial security, while dealing with the effects of FDV.”

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