News in brief: workplace relations wrap-up – May ’22

Domestic and family violence leave to increase to 10 days paid leave in awards – watch this space

The Fair Work Commission (Commission) has led the way on recognising the change needed to respond to domestic and family violence.

On 16 May 2022, the Commission issued its lengthy decision in support of a ‘provisional view’ that the award standard for family and domestic violence leave should be increased to 10 days paid leave.

The provisional view was expressed in the context of the Commission’s four yearly award review and revisited its earlier decision to reject the Australian Council of Trade Union’s push for 10 days paid leave. At that time, five days unpaid leave was provided for as a new entitlement in all awards. The Federal government soon followed by legislating that entitlement in 2018 as part of the ‘National Employment Standards’ (NES) so that all employees (not just award covered employees) would benefit from the entitlement.

The Commission’s provisional view is now the subject of further process steps to develop a model clause (for inclusion in awards) and provide the opportunity for feedback. Once those processes are completed, it should be expected that the Commission will formally vary all awards to include that new standard.

The Federal government will most likely consider changes to the NES required if it adopts the Commission’s lead.

OHS regulations to oblige employers to report on bullying and harassment matters and mitigate psychosocial hazards

The proposed Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Psychological Health) Regulations (Vic) is another one to watch.

The regulations, if passed, will come into effect in July 2022. They will, amongst other things, require employers to take steps to mitigate and report on a range of matters related to psychosocial risks and hazards in the workplace. They will also compel employers with more than 50 employees to provide half yearly reports on ‘reportable psychosocial complaints including bullying and sexual harassment’.

That is a significant change that will affect many employers.

The consultation process has closed.

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At Moores, our Workplace Relations team is well-equipped to guide employers through tricky situations in the workplace. Get in touch with the team at Moores if you or your organisation requires further information or advice.

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