Historic Decision on Family and Domestic Violence Leave

May 18th, 2022

The Fair Work Commission has made a landmark decision for employees covered under modern awards to access 10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) Leave.   

The provisional decision would apply to approximately 2.66 million workers across Australia, enabling them to receive their base rate of pay for up to 10 days per year. This leave would accrue progressively, but cap at 10 days total.  

The current entitlement under the National Employment Standards (NES), which applies to all employees under the national workplace relations system, is 5 days of unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave each year.  

A full bench of the Commission noted that women are disproportionately affected by FDV and this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. They added that ‘In comparison to women with no experience of [family and domestic violence], women experiencing or who have experienced FDV have a more disrupted work history; are on lower personal incomes; have had to change jobs frequently; and are more likely to be employed on a casual and part-time basis’.  

The decision has been praised by various advocates and parties of interest, some of which have been calling for such a change for many years. Michele O’Neil, the President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, described the decision as a ‘historic win’ and a ‘generational achievement for millions of women who have fought for this’.  

The move for 10 days of paid leave under the NES has previously been proposed by the Labor party to be included as part of the Respect at Work legislative amendments in September 2021, but this was rejected by the Coalition at the time.  

While the decision would apply to employees under modern awards, extending this provision to apply to all employees under the NES would require the Federal Government to pass new legislation. 

The FWC will consult with interest groups and finalise further details before the provision is formally implemented.  The FWC’s draft directions are to be filed no later than July 1, 2022. 

Back to News