17.1 This chapter considers the National Employment Standards (NES) under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) which came into effect from 1 January 2010 and enshrine ten minimum statutory entitlements for all national system employees.[1] There are a number of changes to the Fair Work Act and employment law in Australia more broadly that will assist in increasing the safety, and responding to the needs, of employees experiencing family violence. Minimum statutory entitlements, such as those provided for under the NES, are important to ensuring fairness and consistency in access to the entitlements and, ideally, to consistent decision making and employer responses.

17.2 As a result, as part of Phase Five of the ALRC’s suggested strategy for phased implementation of reforms contained in Part E of this Report, the ALRC recommends that the Australian Government should consider amending the NES. In particular, the ALRC recommends that there should be consideration of: whether family violence should be included as a circumstance in which an employee should have a right to request flexible working arrangements; and whether additional paid family violence-related leave should be included as a minimum statutory entitlement under the NES.

[1]Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) ch 2, pt 2–2. Some NES have broader coverage: Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) pt 6–3.