In 2018, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) varied over 100 modern awards to include five days’ unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence.
Earlier this year, the FWC began its four yearly review of the Family and domestic violence leave entitlements in modern awards.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) made arguments in support of increasing leave entitlements noting that all workers should have access to ten days paid family and domestic violence leave.
A number of frontline workers also provided evidence during the hearings stating that paid domestic violence leave was essential for victims who needed to access critical services (e.g. legal, medical, emergency housing and counselling services).
ACTU President Michele O’Neil noted “Addressing family and domestic violence is key for closing the gender pay gap as women who experience violence are more likely to fall behind in their career into low-paid and casual work, or out of the workforce entirely”.
On Monday, the full bench of the FWC arrived at a provisional view that the entitlement should be increased to ten days paid family and domestic violence leave.
The FWC will invite the Federal Government to express its view on the matter and provide clarity on its intentions to increase family and domestic violence leave entitlements in the National Employment Standards (NES) once the parties have drafted a model clause for the FWC.
One way or another, it appears that millions of workers will soon have access to ten days paid family and domestic violence leave, either via an applicable modern award, or the NES.