16.1 Chapters 16 and 17 focus on the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). This chapter provides an overview of the Fair Work Act and examines possible options for reform to the Act, and the institutions created under the Act, to address the needs—and ultimately the safety—of employees experiencing family violence. The chapter examines the background, constitutional basis, coverage and objects of the Fair Work Act, as well as the role and processes of Fair Work Australia (FWA) and the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). The ALRC suggests ways in which those institutions or their processes do, or could, function to protect the safety of those experiencing family violence.

16.2 The key focus of the chapter however, is on the National Employment Standards (NES). The ALRC makes two key proposals—first, that family violence be included as a circumstance in which an employee should have a right to request flexible working arrangements and, secondly, that family violence-related leave be included as a minimum statutory entitlement under the NES.