Everything an employer needs to know about family and domestic violence leave

Wednesday August 8, 2018

Change has been made by The Fair Work Commission after shocking statistics were revealed on rising cases of domestic violence in recent years. The new legislation introduces family and domestic violence leave and aims to provide relief for victims.

As an employer you may need to consider family and domestic violence leave for members of your workforce at some point. Please find everything you need to know below.


What is family and domestic violence leave?

Family and domestic violence leave provides eligible employees access to five days of unpaid leave each year. This came into effect from the first full period starting on or after 1 August 2018.

Family and domestic violence means violence, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee; and/or
  • cause them harm or fear.


Who is defined as a family member in a case of family and domestic violence leave?

The Fair Work Commission defines a family member as any of the following:
An employee’s spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.


Who is entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave?

All employees, including casual employees, covered by an industry or occupation based award are entitled to five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year. Details of the leave are that:

  • It is available in full at the start of each 12-month period of the employee’s employment (and not accrue progressively);
  • The leave does not accumulate from year to year; and
  • It will be available to part-time and casual employees (not pro-rated).


Who is not entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave?

Employees covered by the following won’t be entitled to this leave:

  • Enterprise Awards;
  • State reference public sector award;
  • Enterprise and other registered agreements unless it is specified in the agreement; or
  • Award and Agreement free employees.


How can the leave be taken?

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 off to:

  • make arrangements for their safety, or the safety of a family member;
  • attend court hearings; and
  • access police services.

Employees do not have to use any available paid leave entitlements before using this leave.

If you are managing family and domestic violence leave and would like some advice, contact your local HR Dept professional today.

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