Do you know there have been recent changes to Family & Domestic Violence Leave?
What is a Family & Domestic Violence Leave?
Family and Domestic Violence Leave is a paid leave entitlement for National System Employees to deal with family and domestic violence.
The leave can be taken by an employee with respect to situations of Family and Domestic Violence. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (“FWA”) has defined “Family and Domestic Violence” to mean violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by certain individuals known to an employee that both seeks to coerce or control the employee and causes them harm or fear.
The individual is the perpetrator of the Family and Domestic Violence and can include an employee’s close relative, a member of the employee’s household or a current or former intimate partner of an employee.
A close relative of the employee is considered to be:
- An employee’s spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, or sibling; or
- An employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or
- A person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.
The leave has a fairly broad application and is available to an employee for use in a range of situations to deal with the impact of Family and Domestic Violence including:
- Making arrangements for their safety, or the safety of a close relative (including relocation)
- Attending court hearings
- Accessing police services
- Attending counselling
- Attending appointments with medical, financial or legal professionals.
What are the Changes?
The changes to the FWA introduce a new minimum annual entitlement to 10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave that an employee can take. This leave is available to National System Employees from their first day of employment and will renew each year on the anniversary of their commencement date however, it will not accumulate form year to year.
The increase to an employee’s entitlement to take this additional Family and Domestic Violence Leave will depend upon the size of their employer. The 10 days leave entitlement will take affect from:
- 1 February 2023, for employees of non-small business employers
- 1 August 2023, for employees of a small business employers
A “Small Business Employer” is defined in the FWA as any business with fewer than 15 people. Reference to individual employees, not the equivalent full-time number. Included in this figure are casuals working on a “regular or systematic basis”, the person(s) who has been dismissed and any employee of an associated entity.
The changes apply to all full time, part time and casual National System Employees. With respect to casual employees, they will be paid at the full rate of their rostered hours for the period they take the leave.
These changes do not impact the entitlement of employees of small business employers to take 5 days of unpaid Family Violence Leave each year.
If you require assistance with a Family and Domestic Violence Leave within your workplace, Adams & Partners Employment Law Team can help you. Contact us on (02) 4721 6200.
Written by Amelia Hatton.