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New paid family and domestic violence leave comes into effect

Published January 30, 2023 (last updated February 9, 2023) - Head of Health and Safety

Australian business owners and employers will need to provide their employees with paid family and domestic violence leave. The change was announced by the Federal Government in 2022 and comes into effect to support individuals impacted by family and domestic violence.

According to data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an estimated 3.6 million Australian adults reported experiencing physical and/or sexual family domestic violence since the age of 15.

What do business owners need to know?

All employees in the Fair Work system (including part-time and casual employees) will be entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in 12 months. The full 10-day leave entitlement will be available upfront and won’t accumulate from year to year if it’s not used.

For employers with 15 or more employees, the new entitlement will commence on 1 February 2023.

For employers with less than 15 employees, the new entitlement will commence on 1 August 2023.

Employees will continue to be entitled to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave until they can access the new entitlement.

What constitutes family and domestic violence?

According to the new provisions, family and domestic violence means violent, threatening, or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative, a current or former intimate partner, or a member of their household that both:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee
  • causes them harm or fear.

A close relative is:

  • an employee’s
    • spouse or former spouse
    • de facto partner or former de facto partner
    • child
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • grandchild
    • sibling
  • a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling of an employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner, or
  • a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules

What should business owners and employers do?

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, including leave balances and leave taken. This is a safety provision to reduce any risks to employees who need to use their family and domestic violence leave.

The Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations have been given additional funds to help small businesses implement the new leave entitlement.

Mental Health Policy Template

A free mental health policy template suitable for most businesses.

When can employees access this leave?

This leave is available to employees if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence. This could mean accessing support, and services, ensuring the safety of a relative or family, and attending hearings, counselling, or other medical and legal appointments.

Employees must notify their employer as soon as possible if they need to take leave.

What should employers do next?

Employsure has worked with 30,000 business owners across Australia and New Zealand in matters of employment relations and workplace health and safety.

We are currently updating our resources with all relevant information. You can sign up for our newsletter here or call our 24/7 Advice line for further information.

*This document is intended to act as general information. Please consult a professional for legal advice.

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