FWC rules on
family-friendly working hours and domestic violence
The Fair Work Commission has ruled on union
requests for changes to workplace flexibility procedures and paid
domestic violence leave.
The union claims were lodged as part of the
four-yearly review of modern awards.
The full bench of the FWC concurred with employer groups
that a right to 'family-friendly work hours' would prevent
management's ability to control rosters and could have a
significantly negative impact on businesses.
The industrial umpire has recommended that employers
be required to confer with employees to try to reach agreement on
flexible work and provide an extensive explanation of reasons
for a decision to refuse it.
The Australian Industry Group chief executive
Innes Willox said the decision was the right call.
"If the ACTU's claims had been accepted, all awards would
have been varied to give employees the right to dictate to their
employer what hours and days they work, with the employer having no
right to refuse regardless of the circumstances," said
"The Commission has drafted a model clause aimed at
facilitating discussion between employers and employees about
flexible work arrangements rather than imposing outcomes upon
employers, and has called for submissions on the model
Moreover, the FWC has announced that millions of
Australian workers will be able to access five days' unpaid
domestic violence leave a year, however it refused the
ACTU's push for 10 days' paid leave.
The new leave provisions are estimated to be available for
2.3 million Australian workers on modern awards.
The leave will be available to employees who
are not able to deal with the impact of domestic violence
outside the ordinary hours of work.
The ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, cited research which
shows that it costs $18,000 and takes 141 hours - nearly all during
business hours - to escape an abusive relationship.
"Millions or workers have been denied their rights today
as a result of this broken FWC decision," said McManus.
"It's completely unacceptable that women have to choose
between abuse and protecting their children and keeping their
If elected, the Australian Labor Party has said that
it will legislate for 10 days' paid leave.