Domestic Violence Leave – What You Need to Know

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28 Jan, 2023

The passing of the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence) Act 2022 gave employees the entitlement to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave, along with a number of provisions to operationalise that entitlement.

For all businesses with more than 15 employees, their employees are now entitled to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave for all employees from 1 February 2023. If you have a small business with less than 15 employees, you have until 1 August 2023 before these provisions kick in.

Under the new provisions, all employees (including casual employees) experiencing domestic violence may access up to 10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence, and it is impractical to do so outside their working hours.

This leave is in addition to their existing leave entitlements.

They can take this leave as a single continuous period or separate periods of one or more days.

Full-time and part-time employees are to be paid at their full rate of pay as if they had not taken the leave.

Casual employees are to be paid at their full rate of pay as if they had worked their rostered hours during that period. They will not be paid for any unrostered hours.

This entitlement doesn’t accumulate from year to year if it isn’t used and is available in full at the beginning of each 12-month period of each person’s employment. New employees are entitled to access this leave from their first day of employment.

Employees may use this leave to attend medical appointments and counselling, attend court proceedings, seek or relocate to safe housing, visit legal or financial advisors, or support agencies, for re-housing or re-organising childcare or for other relevant appointments or matters.

Employees can also take Annual Leave, Sick or Carer’s Leave in addition to the Domestic and Family Violence leave if needed.

Some key things for all employers to remember: Applications for leave under these provisions should not be unreasonably refused, and ensure that when an employee takes Domestic Violence Leave, the leave details are not included on payslips. This helps to protect employees.

However, managers are entitled to ask for evidence that the leave was taken for the specified purpose. The type of evidence that may be acceptable can include:

  • Documents issued by the police service,
  • Documents issued by a court,
  • Family violence support service documents,
  • A statutory declaration.

Our HR Policies products include details of these new provisions, as well as provide businesses with a stack of advice on implementation, as well as strategies to help improve the safety of a workplace for an employee undergoing family or domestic violence, and other workers in a team.

We have gone into the topic in depth in our policy products, as family and domestic violence can affect workplaces in several ways

  • It is a workplace health and safety issue. If a perpetrator harasses or stalks a person at their workplace, it can put the employee and their co-workers in danger.
  • Workplaces can be a place of refuge for employees. Employees experiencing family or domestic violence often rely on their workplaces to be a safe place to escape violence and a crucial source of social and economic support.
  • It is a workplace productivity issue. Employees experiencing family or domestic violence might be more likely to take unplanned days off, arrive late or finish early. When they’re at work, they might also be less effective in carrying out their work because they’re distracted, anxious or lack energy. Workplaces could also experience higher employee turnover rates.

During domestic violence, the perpetrator may make it difficult for an employee to get to work; they may harass them at work or when they arrive or leave, or they may target the person at work to get them fired or force them to resign.

The perpetrator may also harass or abuse co-workers or have someone else injure, intimidate, harass, or threaten the employee, or damage the employee’s property.

The most common forms of domestic violence experienced at work are abusive telephone calls, text messages and emails.

We understand that most managers have limited experience in helping employees undergoing domestic violence, and our detailed guidelines help make a challenging time easier and safer for the workplace.

 

For more information about Domestic and Family Violence in the workplace, go to the Fair Work Commission https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/family-and-domestic-violence-leave and the Human Rights Commission http://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/family-and-domestic-violence/publications/fact-sheet-domestic-and-family-violence-workplace

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AEM01@EM

HR Author and Lecturer with over 25 years' experience in human resources and workplace relations in Australia. Lead Author of Instant HR Policies & Procedures, NDIS Direct Employment HR Manual, and Employee Performance Reviews: Tips, Templates and Tactics.

About Us

We are an Australian human resources business specialising in small businesses and not for profits, based in Brisbane, Australia.

 

If you are an Employee and need HR Advice, call Fair Work Australia 13 13 94

 

 

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