The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that a new entitlement to Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave will come into effect from next year. This will be an additional paid leave entitlement separate to the current Personal leave and Annual leave provisions.

Employees who are experiencing domestic violence will now be able to access 10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence leave each year. The leave can be taken by employees to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence. This includes (but isn’t limited to) taking time to:

  • make arrangements for their safety, or the safety of a family member
  • attend court hearings
  • access police services
  • attend counselling services
  • attend appointments with medical, financial, or legal professionals

Employees are entitled to the full 10 days from the day they start work – unlike other forms of leave they don’t have to build it up over time. The 10 days renews on the date of their employment anniversary but doesn’t accumulate from year to year if it isn’t used.

The leave doesn’t need to be taken all at once and can be taken as partial, single, or multiple days.

 

What date do these changes take effect?

From 1 February 2023 for non-small business employers – (employers with 15 or more employees as of 1 February 2023).

From 1 August 2023 for small business employers – (employers with less than 15 employees as of 1 February 2023).

 

Who do these changes apply to?

The new entitlement applies to all employees (including Casual employees) who are covered by the Fair Work (National) system.

The entitlement will not apply to employees and employers who are covered by the state system such as Sole Traders and Partnerships, however these employees will still be able to access the existing 5 days of unpaid Family and Domestic Violence leave.

 

How are payments calculated?

Full-time and part-time employees can take paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave at their full pay rate for the hours they would have worked if they weren’t on leave.

Casual employees will be paid at their full pay rate for the hours they were rostered to work in the period they took leave.

An employee’s full pay rate is their base rate plus any:

  • incentive-based payments and bonuses
  • loadings
  • monetary allowances
  • overtime or penalty rates
  • any other separately identifiable amounts.

 

Notice and Evidence Requirements

Like other forms of leave, staff who wish to access Family and Domestic Violence leave must provide suitable notice and evidence requirements to their employer.

If an employee wishes to take paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave, they must let you know as soon as possible, however this notice could be after the leave has already started.

Employers have the right to ask their employee for evidence to show that the employee needs to do something to deal with family and domestic violence and it’s not practical to do that outside of their hours of work.

Types of evidence can include:

  • documents issued by the police service
  • documents issued by a court
  • family violence support service documents, or
  • a statutory declaration

The evidence has to convince a reasonable person that the employee took the leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.

If the employee doesn’t provide the requested evidence, they may not get paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave.

 

What do I need to do?

If you are an employer covered by the Fair Work (National) system, you must ensure you allow your employees to access this leave entitlement where they are eligible and they provide the required notice and evidence requirements.

Upon the changes taking effect, you may wish to review your existing employment contracts or policy documents and provide training to Managers and Supervisors who will be handling leave enquiries and approvals.

You must also take reasonably practicable steps to keep any information about an employee’s family or domestic violence situation confidential.

Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave
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