Members should note that on 1 August 2018, the Fair Work Commission amended the modern awards, including the Timber Industry Award 2010, to include a new model family and domestic violence provision.

This new provision applies to all employees, including casuals. Employees will be entitled to 5 days’ unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence (see the definition below) each year. The 5 days’ unpaid leave will be available in full, at the commencement of each 12 month period, rather than accruing progressively during a year of service. An employer and employee can agree to the employee taking more than 5 days’ unpaid leave if required. Time away for such leave will not count as service but does not break continuity of service and the leave will not accumulate from year to year.

Employees will be entitled to seek unpaid leave if the employee is experiencing family and domestic violence and the employee needs to deal with the impact of the domestic and family violence that is impractical for the employee to manage during working hours, for example, attending court, making arrangements to relocate their family or accessing police services.

The provision has notice and evidence requirements that an employee must comply with. Employers are required to take steps to ensure information about any notice or evidence an employee has provided for such leave is treated confidentially as far as reasonably practicable.

The new provision is now on the website and a couple of key definitions for this provision are included below.

Domestic violence is defined as follows:

Family and domestic violence means 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.

Family member means:

(i) a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee; or

(ii) a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a spouse or de facto partner of the employee; or

(iii) a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

A reference to a spouse or de facto partner in the definition of family member includes a former spouse or de facto partner.