The Turnbull Government will ensure that up to a further six million workers covered by the Fair Work Act will have access to five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year.
This follows a decision by the independent Fair Work Commission today to provide five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year to up to 2.3 million people on modern awards.
Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy, and the Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, said the Government welcomed the Commission’s decision, which followed careful examination of the issue.
"The Government will introduce legislation as soon as possible to extend the same entitlement to family and domestic violence leave for up to a further six million employees covered by the Fair Work Act,” Minister Laundy said.
"We want to ensure a consistent safety net for employees covered by the national workplace system, so we will amend the Act in line with the final model clause to give other federal system employees access to unpaid leave on the same terms.
"The Fair Work Commission decision would otherwise not apply to employees who do not have their terms and conditions set by a modern award.”
The Fair Work Commission has said it will look at the issue of family and domestic leave again in June 2021, including whether provision should be made for paid family and domestic violence leave in modern awards.
Minister O’Dwyer said the Government recognised the important role employers could play in assisting employees in the workplace who are experiencing family and domestic violence.
"The Government recognises that many employers already provide additional support, including paid leave, to employees experiencing family and domestic violence. We encourage other employers to follow their lead,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
"The Government is determined to tackle the scourge of domestic and family violence and its terrible impact on individuals and the community.
"As part of this, we will be establishing a one-stop shop providing resources for employers and employees to support employees experiencing family and domestic violence.
"Addressing domestic violence has been a priority of the Government since we were elected in 2013.
"Our $100 million Women’s Safety Package and the additional $100 million investment made under the Third Action Plan continue to protect women and children through expanded frontline services and delivery of new prevention strategies.”
Separately, the Fair Work Commission decided to hold further hearings on a proposed model clause in awards which sets out a process for employers to follow when proposing to refuse flexible work requests by parents of school age children or younger, or carers. The Fair Work Act currently gives eligible national system employees the right to request flexible working arrangements.