Unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave

In a decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission on 6 July 2018, the content of the model term providing an entitlement for unpaid family and domestic violence leave was finalised. According to the decision, the model term will be inserted into modern awards with industry and occupational coverage as part of the 4 yearly review of modern awards and will be effective from 1 August 2018.

Under the finalised model term, employees covered by industry and occupational modern awards will be entitled to five days unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence, which is defined in the model term as violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a family member of an employee that seeks to coerce or control the employee and that causes them harm or to be fearful.

Subject to evidence and notice requirements, eligible employees are entitled to unpaid leave where the employee is experiencing family and domestic violence and needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence, and it is impractical for the employee to do that thing outside of ordinary work hours. Reasons an employee may take leave include to make arrangements for their safety or that of a family member, to attend urgent court hearings or to access police services.

Unpaid family and domestic violence leave will become available to an employee in full at the commencement of each 12 month period, rather than accruing progressively throughout each year of service, although it will not accumulate from year to year.

The entitlement will be available in full to employees, regardless of whether they are employed on a full time, part-time or casual basis (ie it will not be pro rated for employees who work less than full time hours).

For advice or information about your award obligations, please contact:

Jim Rutherford
T +03 5226 8579
E: jrutherford@ha.legal


Sonia McCabe
Senior Associate
T +03 5226 8558
E: smccabe@ha.legal


Sophie Ware
T +03 5226 8577
E: sware@ha.legal

Jim Rutherford

Principal - Harwood Andrews

Jim Rutherford is a Principal of Harwood Andrews. His practice focuses on the prevention and resolution of disputes faced by his clients.

Jim is accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria as a specialist in workplace relations law and he heads our workplace relations team. Jim practised as a barrister before joining Harwood Andrews.

He appears as an advocate in Fair Work Australia, The Federal Magistrates Court, The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, The County Court and Supreme Court.

Jim’s approach is to listen to clients, determine the right solution to resolve the dispute and then apply his significant mediation experience to deliver the best possible result.

Jim is respected for his knowledge and expertise regarding workplace relations issues and regularly presents to employer groups and human resources managers on employment and industrial relations matters.

Harwood Andrews

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