Employees to receive further work-life balance rights

Gemma O'Connor - Services and Operations Manager

September 26 2022

First published: 06/1/2022
Last updated: 14/11/2022

The Government has approved the publication of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 (the Bill). The main aim of the Bill is to introduce a range of measures to improve family-friendly work practices and support women in the work force.

Paid leave for victims of domestic violence

In drawing up the legislation, the Government has also incorporated recommendations made under the Domestic Violence Leave Report. This document made two key recommendations on how best to support employees experiencing domestic abuse:

  • That a form of domestic violence leave be introduced
  • That supports for employers be put in place to assist them in developing domestic violence workplace policies to complement the leave and better support employees experiencing domestic violence.

The Bill will put these recommendations on a statutory footing. Once enacted, those who are suffering or at risk of domestic violence will be entitled to five days of paid leave per year. The Government will also put in place supports for employers to assist them in developing domestic violence workplace policies and to better support employees experiencing domestic violence.

Employment supports for parents and carers

In addition to the supports for victims of domestic violence, the Bill contains three key measures to support families and carers, namely:

  • A right to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes, for parents and carers
  • A right to leave for medical care purposes, both for employees with children up to age 12 and carers
  • Extension of the current entitlement to breastfeeding/lactation breaks from six months to two years

Implications for Business Owners

Once this new piece of legislation passes, it will be important to communicate the changes to staff. Consistently letting staff know about changes to their employment rights helps foster a culture of open communication. Working parents and employees with caring duties will be particularly interested to know about the new employment rights they have acquired.

The legislation also promises to put supports in place for employers to help them develop domestic violence workplace policies and support employees who may be experiencing domestic violence. Training will also be needed to help management deal with a situation involving a staff member who might be suffering the effects of domestic violence. Well-trained managers will be better able to support employees who are experiencing domestic abuse as this will be a difficult scenario for all the parties involved.

Employers will need to work the new legislation into existing work patterns, people management systems and business strategies. If the Bill is passed with no further amendments, and passed as expected before the year is out, employers will need to review their employment documentation to ensure all the new work-life balance provisions are included. Once the update is complete, the changes should be communicated to everyone so it’s clear from both the employer and employees’ perspectives as to what exactly has changed.

Need help updating your employment documentation?

Employment law is constantly evolving and it can be hard to keep up.

Why not leave your employment contracts and documents to the experts? Peninsula’s employment law consultants have years of experience helping small business owners like you with all their employment law queries. Call 1800 719 216 to speak with one of our employment law experts about how to manage this upcoming change in the law.

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