How the domestic violence leave awards impact your staff

Are you prepared for the recent federal domestic violence leave laws that kicked in from 1 August? If not, you should update your policies and contracts immediately, as the new leave entitlement places additional HR requirements on employers.

The new bill means workers covered by an industry or occupation award – including casual employees – will be able to apply for up to five days unpaid leave each year to help deal with the outcomes of family violence.

The legislation follows the Fair Work Commission’s determination in March that those covered by the national award system will be granted the new form of leave if they experience family and domestic violence. This is defined as “violent, threatening or other abusive behaviours by an employee’s family member that seeks to coerce or control the employee or causes them harm or fear”.

The Commission states that the new leave option is there to assist workers who are facing family and domestic violence and find it “impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work”.

Of critical interest to any employer, including childcare centre owners or managers, the Commission is updating all industry and occupation awards to include the new clause. It has been interleaved into all national workplace employment awards and became effective from 1 August this year.

However, it doesn’t apply to workers who are covered by enterprise awards, state reference public sector awards, enterprise and other registered agreements or those who work award- and agreement-free.

The entitlement is available in full at the commencement of each 12-month period and does not accrue from year to year. The time an employee is on family and domestic violence leave doesn’t count as service, but it also doesn’t break the continuity of their service.

Here are the key elements of the new clause:

  • It is effective from 1 August 2018
  • The entitlement is five days
  • It is unpaid leave
  • It applies to all employees, including casual workers, covered by all industry and occupation awards
  • The leave will be available, in full, at the beginning of each 12-month period; it will not accrue progressively
  • It will not accumulate from year-to-year
  • It will be available, in full, to part-time and casual employees i.e. it will not be pro-rated
  • Excluded are Enterprise and State reference public sector awards, and award and agreement-free employees.

These latest changes highlight the importance for any childcare centre to be able to update their HR and admin systems quickly and easily to reflect changes in legislation and avoid falling foul of workplace audits.

New laws are often hard to understand and apply, so it is invaluable to have a partner who can take care of the details for you. ChildHR will take this burden off your shoulders. We are Australia’s only HR software tailored to the childcare industry and we combine our early learning sector expertise with technology to make the serious business of HR compliance child’s play.

We will make sure you stay informed of every change to HR laws issued by the Fair Work Commission and update all of your documentation. By using us, you’ll never have to worry about workplace HR changes ever again.

We can help you:

  • Avoid legal or compliance issues and resulting penalties
  • Manage underperforming staff
  • Eliminate areas of weakness in your HR and employment processes
  • Free up valuable staff time to dedicate towards childcare.

So, are you ready to swing into action and make sure you’re compliant with the new family and domestic violence law changes? ChildHR can manage all your compliance, so you and your staff can focus on what really matters: providing a safe, secure environment for children – and peace of mind for parents.

Talk to one of our Customer Relationship Partners on 1300 410 340 for further information