Under the Fair Work Act, employees dealing with the impact of family and domestic violence can:

  • take unpaid family and domestic violence leave;
  • request flexible working arrangements (if working for the same employer regularly for at least 12 months); and
  • take paid or unpaid personal/carer’s leave, in certain circumstances.

The Fair Work Act defines family and domestic violence as violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative that seeks to coerce or control the employee and causes them harm or to be fearful.

New Paid Leave Obligations

Key dates:

  • 1 February 2023: employees of non-small business employers entitled to 10 days paid family and domestic leave;
  • 1 August 2023: employees of small business employers entitled.

From 1 February 2023, full-time, part-time and casual employees of non-small business employers (that is, businesses with more than 15 employees) will be entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12 month period. This new entitlement is replacing the current 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave under the National Employment Standards (NES). Employees of small firms (with less than 15 employees) will continue at the current 5 days unpaid leave but then will be entitled to this same increased entitlements from 1 August 2023.

Important – Privacy Obligation

It is important to note that from 1 February 2023, to protect the employee’s safety and privacy, there are rules about information that must not be included on an employee’s pay slip relating to paid family and domestic violence leave. Employers must maintain a record of leave balances and any leave taken by employees. However, pay slips must not mention family and domestic violence leave, including any leave taken and leave balances.

Are you prepared?

As an employer you need to ensure that you are aware of your obligations and are regularly reviewing your workplace contracts, policies, safety plan and procedures. This now includes taking reasonably practical steps to keep sensitive information relating to employee’s experience of family violence confidential when received as part of an application for leave.

For more information go to the Fair Work website

If you require assistance contact Rankin Business Lawyers for practical, on-point commercial legal guidance.

Stacey Brennan