Changes to employee Domestic Violence Leave (Australia): Paid Leave

In mid-2022 the Fair Work Commission made a landmark decision to introduce paid domestic violence leave to Australian employees under the National Employment Standards.

The Fair Work Commission said domestic and family violence is a “gendered phenomenon” which has worsened throughout the pandemic and the inclusion of paid leave to employee minimum entitlements will have a tremendous positive impact to affected employees and businesses; with with one in six women, and one in sixteen men in Australia experiencing violence by an intimate partner at some stage of their life, and domestic and family violence costing Australian employers $2 billion annually.

What is domestic violence leave?

Domestic violence leave forms part of the NES, as a minimum entitlement such as sick leave. Family or domestic violence leave is available in the event that the employee needs leave to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence and it is impractical for them to do it outside their ordinary hours of work.

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 or causes them harm of fear. A family member includes an employee’s spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, 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.   

The particulars

Employees (from dates described) can access 10 days of paid family domestic violence leave. This includes full time, part-time and casual employees.

The leave does not need to be taken all at once and can be taken as single, multiple days or half days if needed and as agreed with their employer.

If an employee takes family and domestic violence leave they need to inform their Manager as soon as possible. Reasons for taking the leave may include:

–       making arrangements for their safety, or safety of a family member (including relocation);

–       attending court hearings, or;

–       accessing police services. 

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.

The above sets out the minimum entitlements, and some employers may provide additional leave or supports for Employees under individual arrangement, contracts, policies or enterprise agreements.

For further advice please don’t hesitate to contact PeopleStart on 1300 134 110