Upcoming Changes to Family and Domestic Leave

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Published by Preston Law on 23/01/2023

On 27 October 2022, the Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2020 was passed and amends the Fair Work Act 2009 to provide all employees with 10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave.

What is Domestic and Family Violence Leave?

Family and Domestic Violence leave was introduced to allow employees to take time away from work due to issues or impacts pertaining to domestic violence against themselves or their direct family.

Pursuant to the Fair Work Act (2009) (Cth) (the Act) domestic violence is defined as threatening, violent or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative which is coercive or controlling and causes them harm or fear.

The Act extends the definition of “family and domestic violence” to include the conduct of “a member of an employee’s household, or a current or former intimate partner of an employee”.

Under the Act, all employees inclusive of part-time and casual, are able to take paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave if they:

  • Experience family and domestic violence; and
  • Need to do something to deal with the impact of that violence.

Examples of where family and domestic violence leave may be taken by employees include for the purposes of:

  • making arrangements for their safety or the safety of a close relative, such as a dependent child (including relocation);
  • attending urgent court hearings; and
  • accessing police service

This entitlement is applicable to all employees who are covered by an award and applies to full-time, part-time, and casual employees.

What are the changes?

Currently, employees are entitled to 5 days of family and domestic violence leave. The proposed changes are that all employees are now entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave. This leave does not accrue from year to year and will be available in full at the commencement of each year.

This entitlement is due to commence on 1 February 2023 with small businesses being provided an additional six months to comply with the changes. Employers need to prepare for the upcoming change by reviewing industrial instruments including employment contracts and workplace policies to ensure references to these leave entitlements are up to date.

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