Labor Introduces 10 Days Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Aug 4th, 2022

Last week the Federal government introduced a bill to insert paid family and domestic violence leave under the National Employment Standards (NES).

This would make amendments to the NES to change it from the existing 5 days unpaid leave to 10 days paid leave, and it would also include access for casual employees.

This leave will be paid at the rate the employee would have otherwise received for their time worked. This includes additional payments like shift loadings and weekend penalty rates, which is a departure from the base rate of pay an employee will receive for annual leave or personal/carer’s leave.

Similarly to the existing unpaid entitlement, the 10 days paid leave is intended to reset yearly, rather than roll over to the next year.
This leave is intended to cover situations where employees need to take this paid leave in order to arrange for the safety of themselves or a close relative, to attend court hearings, access police services, attend counselling, and attend appointments with medical, financial, or legal professionals.

Surprisingly, casual employees have also been included in access to this paid leave entitlement, which is a stark departure from most forms of leave provided for in the NES, with the exception of long service leave.

The Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke has emphasised that the inclusion of casual employees to this paid entitlement is particularly important, because a disproportionate number of individuals that do experience family and domestic violence are engaged in casual employment. This entitlement allows a more marginalised group to be able to access the assistance they need.

This amendment comes on the back of the Fair Work Commission’s provisional view earlier this year that paid family and domestic leave should be inserted into all modern awards. The amendment would go further, providing it to all employees under our National Industrial Relations system rather than just those covered by an award, and extending it to casual employees as well. This would cover more than 11 million workers across Australia.

However, if its passed, its important that businesses don’t just stop at providing the new statutory entitlement.

A business operating in best practice should look to put into place pro-active policies to ensure their employees are aware of their entitlements and how to access them – and not just for this new statutory entitlement.

A workplace where employees feel supported can only lead to good outcomes – higher job satisfaction, higher productivity, lower absenteeism, and lower employee turnover.

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