The Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 (Cth) ("the Bill") was introduced into the Federal Parliament on 13 September 2018 by Ms O’Dwyer, the Minister for Women ("the Minister"), and was subsequently referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee ("the Committee"). In broad terms, the Bill proposes amendment of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) ("the Act") to insert a new entitlement in the National Employment Standards ("the NES") to "five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave".
According to the Minister, the entitlement to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave introduced into the NES is consistent with the entitlement in the Model Clause that was developed by the Fair Work Commission ("the Commission"), as part of the 4 Yearly Review of Modern Awards ("the 4 Yearly Review") (see the decision at  FWCFB 1691, decided 26 March 2018).
In their decision, the majority of the Commission made the following findings:
In its decision, the Commission "accepted that family and domestic violence is a gendered phenomenon that disproportionately affects women, and that women are more likely than men to:
The Commission also adopted the conclusion that "the circumstances faced by employees who experience family and domestic violence require a special response", and stated that family and domestic violence is a community issue and requires a community response.
The Government's Explanatory Memorandum points out that:
As a result of the decision of the Commission on 26 March 2018, the new clause began operating in 123 modern industry and occupation awards from 1 August 2018. The new clauses inserted by the Commission only affect employees whose terms and conditions are set by those awards. Many other Australian workers have employers who have already implemented policies and entitlements to provide such support to their employees. Even so, there are still millions of Australian employees in the national system who do not have access to family and domestic violence leave and this is a situation the Bill is intended to address.
The Bill, according to the Minister is intended to be in line with the Commission’s Model Clause, and the entitlement contained in the Bill would:
As reported above the Bill was reviewed by the Committee which reported on the Bill on 12 October 2018. The Committee recommended that the Senate pass the Bill saying at Chapter 2 Par 2.46:
Labor and the Greens dissented and in their dissenting report recommend that the government amend the Bill to provide 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave - a view in line with the position of the ACTU rather than that decided by the FWC in the 4 Yearly Review.
This reform will provide a guaranteed minimum entitlement that must be applied to every employee covered by the Act and does not preclude employers applying their own additional domestic and family violence policies and practices. The Bill is still being considered by the House of Representatives.
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Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 (Cth), second reading speech and explanatory memorandum, available from TimeBase's LawOne Service
4 yearly review of modern awards — Family and Domestic Violence AM2015/1  FWCFB 1691
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