Keeping on top of workplace entitlements is important for employers and employees alike. Two key recent changes include a new leave for family and domestic violence and expansion of the casual conversions (to permanent positions) clause…


As a business owner and employee, it’s always important to keep on top of updates to employment law; as an owner you need to know your obligations, as an employee you need to know your rights. In the last couple of months there have been two significant changes.

New family and domestic violence leave entitlements

From the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018, industry and occupation based Modern Awards will be varied to allow employees access to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.

What is the entitlement?

Employees covered by an Award with the new clause are entitled to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year. Family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee and
  • causes them harm or fear

Employees can take the leave if they need to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it’s impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.

Who does it apply to?

This entitlement applies to all employees, including casuals, who are covered by an industry or occupation based award. In order to take this leave, employees need to meet certain notice and evidence requirements that are set out within the applicable award.

It does not apply to employees who are:

  • covered by Enterprise Awards
  • covered by State reference public sector awards
  • covered by Enterprise and other registered agreements
  • Award and Agreement free

What do you need to do now?

Nothing immediately. However, you may wish to discuss this new leave entitlement with your employees to remind them of your desired notice requirements.

Casual conversions

On 1 October 2018 a new model casual conversion clause will be incorporated into 84 awards, giving some casual workers the right to request full-time or part-time employment if they have worked certain, regular hours over a 12-month period.

An amended version of the model clause will be included in 14 other Modern Awards.

Known as ‘Casual Conversion’, it means that casual employees covered by the modern awards will have the right to request full-time or part-time employment after working as a regular casual for at least 12 months with an employer. It is noted that many modern awards already had casual conversion provisions. The 28 Modern Awards which already contained casual conversion provisions will not be impacted.

Effectively the clauses give an employee the right to request to ‘convert’ casual employment to part-time or full-time employment and receive all the entitlements that follow.

Employers can refuse the request in writing on reasonable grounds, including that it would require a significant adjustment to a casual employee’s hours of work or they could foresee their position would no longer exist in the next 12 months.

If you need help with employment relations or workplace, health and safety, you can contact Employsure on 1300 651 415. Employsure is an Australian-based company that provides workplace relations support to employers and business owners in Australia and New Zealand. When enquiring, quote ERA2206 to discuss member benefits.

More information can be found on the Fair Work website

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