Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Family and domestic violence is a national crisis. On average, a woman is killed each week by a partner, ex-partner or family member in Australia.

Support is always available
  • Call 000 if you, a child, or another person is in immediate danger.

  • 1800RESPECT: Call 1800 737 732 if you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence.

  • No to Violence Men’s Referral Service: Call 1300 766 491 for anonymous and confidential telephone counselling, information and referrals for men.

  • Kids Helpline: Call 1800 55 1800 for 24/7 counselling for Australian children and young people.

  • Q LifeCall 1800 184 527 for anonymous and free LGBTQIA+ peer support and referral.

Family and domestic violence isn’t always physical nor is it always visible. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, social, cultural, spiritual or financial in form. It can happen online as well as in-person.

The entitlement to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave has only recently been made available to all workers. It took a decade worth of union-led campaigning to ensure that all employees could access the leave. It is now part of the National Employment Standards.

To flee a violent relationship, on average, costs $18,000. The purpose of having the 10 days paid leave is to ensure victim-survivors have time and money to help deal with the impact of that family and domestic violence.

The leave can be used in different ways and can include:

  • Relocating home or moving to safe accommodation
  • Making arrangements for their safety
  • Attending court
  • Accessing police services
  • Going to counselling
  • Attending appointments with medical, financial or legal professionals
  • Accessing Centrelink and other support services

The entitlement to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave is already available to use for workers at businesses with 15 or more employees. For workers at businesses with less than 15 employees, the leave will be available from 1 August 2023.

  1. Full time, part time and casual workers will have access to 10 days paid leave regardless of whether they work a 38-hour week or fewer hours.
  2. Unlike annual leave and sick leave, you don’t need to wait for the leave to accumulate. The full 10 days are available as soon as you need it. Unused leave does not accumulate from year to year – the available leave resets to 10 days each year.
  3. If you work full time or part time, you can take paid family and domestic violence leave at your full pay rate for the hours you would’ve worked if you weren’t on leave. For casual employees, you’ll be paid at your full pay rate (including casual loading) for the hours you were rostered to work in the period you took leave – this includes hours offered by the employer and accepted by you. Full rate of pay includes things like allowances, loadings, overtime and penalty rates. This is different to other forms of leave, which are paid at the base pay rate and do not include these things.

Even if you never have to use the leave yourself, it may help to know these details so that you can then give this information to another worker in need.

Unlike other types of leave, family and domestic violence leave is one where, in many situations, you will simply be unable to give your employer much notice.

Just give notice as soon as you can – and you can do so even after the leave has already started.

Your employer can ask for evidence to show why you need the leave. In that case, you must show them that you are having to deal with the impacts of family and domestic violence and it’s not practical to do it outside of your work hours. There are different types of evidence you can use to do this, such as:

  • A statutory declaration
  • family violence support service documents
  • documents issued by a police service
  • documents issued by a court.

For any number of reasons, when you flee an abusive relationship, you may not want to have any records of using family and domestic violence leave.

For anyone who uses the leave, employers are legally obliged to protect your privacy in these ways:

  • When you use family and domestic violence leave, it won’t show on your pay slip.
  • Your employer must keep confidential any records of notice or evidence that you have provided.
  • Your employer must use those records only to satisfy that you are entitled to family and domestic violence leave. The only other circumstances in which they can use those records is when you give your consent, or it’s required by law, or it’s necessary to protect the life, health or safety of the employee or another person. An employer cannot use this information to take adverse action against an employee.

This info could be a lifeline for someone you know

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