The Fair Work Commission of Australia has announced the introduction of a new paid family and domestic violence leave. The leave is intended to support employees who have experienced or are experiencing family and domestic violence. Eligible employees will be entitled to 10 days of paid leave per year, which can be taken as a single block or as separate days. This new entitlement applies to all national system employees and will come into effect from 1st August 2023 for employees of “small business” employers (employers with less than 15 employees), and is already in effect as at 1st February 2023 for employees of “non-small business” employers(employers with 15 or more employees).
All employees including full-time, part-time and casual employees are entitled to up to 10 days of paid family domestic violence leave. An employee’s paid leave entitlement is available in full immediately and resets on the employee’s work anniversary. It doesn’t accumulate from year to year. Employees who start work for a non-small business employer after 1 February 2023 can access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave from the day they start work. For example, if an employee starts on 1 March 2023, their paid leave entitlement is available from then.
Family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by certain individuals known to an employee that both:
- seeks to coerce or control the employee
- causes them harm or fear.
The individual could be:
- an employee’s close relative
- a member of an employee’s household, or
- a current or former intimate partner of an employee.
A close relative is:
- an employee’s:
- spouse or former spouse
- de facto partner or former de facto partner
- an employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or
- a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.
When employees can take paid leave
Employees must be experiencing family and domestic violence to be eligible to take paid family and domestic violence leave.
These employees can take this paid leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.
For example, this could include:
- making arrangements for their safety, or safety of a close relative (including relocation)
- attending court hearings
- accessing police services.
The leave doesn’t need to be taken all at once. It can be taken as single or multiple days.
An employer and employee can also agree for an employee to take less than one day at a time.
Can it be used when other leave is being taken?
Employees experiencing family and domestic violence can use this leave during a period of other approved paid leave. Examples of paid leave are sick or carer’s leave or annual leave.
If this happens, the employee is no longer on the other form of paid leave and is taking paid family and domestic violence leave instead. The employee needs to give their employer the required notice and evidence.
Pay slip requirements
From 1 February 2023, there are rules about information that must not be included on an employee’s pay slip relating to paid family and domestic violence leave. This is to reduce the risk to an employee’s safety when accessing paid family and domestic violence leave.
For anyone in a domestic violence situation, help is available.
1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. This service can also provide confidential information about what it means to be experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence.