The impacts of family violence can be significant, not only emotionally and physically, but financially too. In many cases, those affected by violence have felt unable to take steps to leave their situation because of the risk to their employment or financial stability. Paid family and domestic violence leave would help employees experiencing violence to remain in work, maintain their financial security and allow time to access the services they need. In recognition of this, the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 has passed through parliament in October 2022.
The Current Act:
Currently, under the Fair Work Act 2009, an employee is entitled to a maximum of 5 days of unpaid leave if they have been impacted by family or domestic violence perpetrated by a “close relative”. Under current law, a close relative means:
· a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee;
· a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a spouse or de facto partner of the employee;
· or a person related to the employee under Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.
If an employee can provide reasonable proof that they are affected by domestic violence, they can take the leave if they need to do something to deal with the impacts as it is often impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.
For example this could include:
· making arrangements for their safety, such as relocating to a new home;
· attending court hearings to seek an intervention order;
· or access counselling or police services.
The Amendments the Bill will provide:
The Bill will amend the Fair Work Act 2009 in two key ways:
· Firstly and most significantly, it will replace the current entitlement in the National Employment Standards to ten days of paid leave for full-time, part-time and casual employees.
· Secondly, the Bill will also extend the definition of family and domestic violence to include conduct of a current or former intimate partner of an employee, or a member of an employee’s household.
The main amendments set out in Schedule 1 of the Bill will be coming into effect on 1 February 2023, with some exemptions allowed for small businesses who require time to adjust to the changes.
Nevett Ford’s Family Law team are able to assist in matters involving family violence. Please contact us on 03 9614 7111 or email@example.com to confidentially discuss your situation and to see what options are available to you.
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing any type of domestic violence at home, it is important to seek help straight away as these types of behaviours can worsen to more dangerous types of violence if unaddressed. When it is safe to do so, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).