You may have heard, Australia has recently introduced new employee entitlements for family and domestic violence leave to better support victims of such violence. The new legislation, which will come into effect on August 1st 2023, provides for up to 10 days of paid leave per year for eligible employees within a small business of less than 15 employees. Non-small business employees have been entitled to this leave since 1st February 2023.
Family and domestic violence leave is available to all employees covered by the Fair Work Act 2009, including full-time, part-time, and casual employees. The leave can be taken by employees who need to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence, such as attending court hearings, relocating or accessing support services.
The leave is available in full at the start of each 12-month period of employment. It does not accumulate from year to year. It is also available to be taken in separate periods of less than a day.
To be eligible for family and domestic violence leave, employees must provide their employer with notice of the leave as soon as practicable and evidence of the need for the leave if requested. Evidence can include a police report, a court order, or a statutory declaration.
The introduction of family and domestic violence leave is an important step forward the work force to support victims of such violence. It recognizes that victims may need time off to deal with the physical and emotional impact of such situations, and to seek the support and assistance they need.
Employers should ensure that they understand the new requirements and have policies and procedures in place to support employees who may need to take family and domestic violence leave. By doing so, they can help to create a safe and supportive workplace for all employees.
1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. This service can also provide confidential information about what it means to be experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence.
You can access more information by visiting fairwork.gov.au