After much debate, Fair Work Commission Vice President Watson has recently revealed his decision that domestic violence leave should not be included in modern awards.

He decided the leave should not be included because:

  • It is a form of leave that can be taken without prior approval.
  • It is available in a broad and somewhat uncertain range of circumstances.
  • There is a possibility that it could undermine the level of trust in a workplace and create uncertainty and cost for employers.

While VP Watson acknowledged domestic violence is a serious problem that needs to be considered in the workplace, the introduction of leave specifically for domestic violence could bring about more problems than solutions.

What can you do to help employees suffering from domestic violence?

Domestic violence can be very detrimental to the workplace. Some abusers may use the time their victim is at work to send threatening texts or calls, in an environment when the victim is unable to fully respond. The stress induced by the abuse may also cause an employee’s performance to suffer, resulting in less productivity and more mistakes made in the workplace.

It is vital to ensure the health and safety of your employees when they are at work. Effectively addressing the effects of domestic violence can reduce costs such as sudden sick leave or absences from work, increase employee health and wellbeing, demonstrate corporate social responsibility, and fulfil an employer’s duty of care. Ensure that your employees have access to the appropriate resources and support systems to get help when they are ready. Have a policy in place that states who to approach should an employee be experiencing any problems outside of the workplace that could impact their work. Remember to be supportive and work with your employee to achieve the best results for the individual and the organisation.


For more information on domestic violence leave contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or

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