A major step forward towards Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Media Release
  • Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations
  • Minister for Women

The Morrison Government has today introduced important new laws to provide for a guaranteed five days’ family and domestic violence leave for the very first time.

“The scourge of family violence strikes at the heart of our communities and continues to impact far too many Australians,” the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP said.

“It causes great pain and anguish to those who experience it, their children and their loved ones.

“Too often it threatens workers’ ability to hold down a job – to provide for themselves and their families, to participate fully in the workforce and to fulfil their potential.”

The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 extends the decision of the Fair Work Commission in March 2018 to grant five days’ unpaid leave to employees covered by modern awards to all other employees covered by the Fair Work Act.

“This new legislation will see up to six million additional workers guaranteed access to this important, new workplace right without delay. All in all, eight million workers will have access to this new guarantee.”

Most small businesses employ their staff under modern awards, so their staff already have access to the leave based on the Fair Work Commission’s decision.

“Our reform will ensure big businesses, which are more likely to employ staff under enterprise agreements and individual arrangements, will also need to provide the minimum five day domestic and family violence leave entitlement,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.

The Fair Work Commission made its decision to provide five days’ unpaid leave after carefully considering extensive evidence and submissions from unions, employers and other interested parties. The Commission indicated it will revisit consideration of this issue in mid-2021.

This new reform will provide a guaranteed minimum entitlement that must be applied to every employee covered by the Fair Work Act. It does not preclude employers applying their own additional domestic and family violence policies and practices.

The Coalition Government has zero tolerance for violence against women, committing well in excess of $300 million to address women’s safety.

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