The Fair Work Commission rejects Paid Family Violence leave

The Fair Work Commission has rejected Paid Family Violence leave in all modern workplace agreements – but it does support unpaid leave for those affected employees.

The commission says it’s not satisfied paid leave is necessary, or it would overcome the disruption to workplace participation.

But, the commission says it believes leave is needed to deal with the issue because current arrangements are insufficient.


Currently, applications for flexible working arrangements take 21 days for approval and could be rejected. Sick leave cannot be used to attend court or find new housing, and annual leave can only be taken at a time agreed to by employers.

“We are therefore not satisfied that the existing entitlements meet the needs of employees who experience family and domestic violence,” the decision reads.

The commission also believes employees should have access to unpaid leave and be able to use personal/carer’s leave to deal with family and domestic violence.

The claim was put forward by the Australian Council of Trade Unions as part of the four-yearly review of modern workplace awards.

The commission said while it rejected the ACTU’s claim, this did not mean a future finding that paid leave was needed was off the table.

The decision is being chalked up as a first-round victory, with the FWC commending the ACTU for being an agent of “social utility”.

“The ACTU is disappointed that the FWC has not awarded paid leave at this time, but this decision is the first step in the fight to ensure working people trying to deal with or recover from family and domestic violence have both job and financial security,” president Ged Kearney said in a statement.

“While the FWC has not been able to hand down a decision for paid leave at this time, it has left the door open for it in the future and we will fight until it is a workplace right for all.”

The commission wants to hear submissions on unpaid leave and accessing personal or carer’s leave for family violence reasons.