On 1 February 2023, employees will soon be able to access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave. Businesses with more than 15 employees will be able to access the revised leave from 1 February and businesses with less than 15 employees, mostly all small businesses, will have access to the additional 5 days from 1 August 2023.
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 a 12-month period. This new entitlement will replace the existing entitlement to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave under the National Employment Standards. Employees can still access 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave until the new entitlement becomes available to them.
An employee can use paid family and domestic violence leave during a period of personal/carers or annual leave. If this happens, the employee is no longer on the other form of paid leave and is taking paid family and domestic violence leave instead. The employee is still required to give their employer the required notice and evidence to take this leave however this can be after the leave has started. An employer may ask their employee for evidence to show that the employee needs to do something to deal with FDV and it is not practical to do so outside their hours of work.
Employers should take reasonable steps to treat any information about an employee’s situation confidential when they receive it as part of an application for leave. Employers need to also be aware that any information about an employee’s prior experience of family domestic violence is to be treated as sensitive. If information isn’t handled properly, it could have dire consequences for their employees.
The Fair Work Ombudsman and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations have been given additional funds to help small businesses implement the new entitlement.
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.
 If you have staff who may be facing family and domestic violence; confidential information, counselling, and support for them is available at the 1800 RESPECT website. This is the national sexual assault, domestic, and family violence counselling service.