Summary

17.1 Chapters 16 and 17 provide an overview of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and examine possible options for reform to the Act, as well as agreements and instruments made under the Act, to address the needs—and ultimately the safety—of employees experiencing family violence. In particular, this chapter examines:

  • family violence clauses in enterprise agreements—the ALRC concludes that the Australian Government should encourage the inclusion of family violence clauses, that such clauses should include a range of minimum requirements and proposes that the Fair Work Ombudsman should develop a guide to negotiating such clauses in agreements;

  • individual flexibility arrangements in enterprise agreements—the ALRC considers the appropriateness of individual flexibility arrangements (IFAs) in circumstances where an employee is experiencing family violence and proposes that the Fair Work Ombudsman should develop a guide to negotiating IFAs in such circumstances;

  • modern awards—the ALRC considers ways in which modern awards might incorporate family violence-related provisions and suggests this should be considered in the course of Fair Work Australia’s reviews in 2012 and 2014;

  • unfair dismissal—acknowledging the broad formulation of ‘harsh, unjust and unreasonable’, the ALRC suggests consideration of family violence in determining whether ‘exceptional circumstances exist’ for the purposes of granting an extension of time in which to make an application; and

  • the general protections provisions under the Fair Work Act—the ALRC suggests that discrimination on family-violence related grounds under those provisions could be considered in the context of the post-implementation review and by the Australian Human Rights Commission.