Family and Domestic Violence is a challenging issues in Australia. One in six women has experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner since age 15. When faced with family and domestic violence, it can be difficult for victims to continue their work responsibilities, as they may need time off for medical appointments, court appearances, and other essential activities.
To help address this problem, FairWork has recently introduced a new Family and Domestic Violence Leave policy, which provides employees affected by family and domestic violence with up to 10 days of paid leave each year. In this article, we will discuss what the new approach entails – who is eligible for it, how much leave can be taken when – and learn about the potential benefits for employers.
What is Family and Domestic Violence?
Understanding the impact of family and domestic violence on an individual’s life is essential. Under the new provisions, family and domestic violence are defined as violent, threatening, or other abusive behaviour by an individual’s close relative, a current or former intimate partner, or a household member.
This behaviour is harmful and traumatic and seeks to coerce and control the individual. This can leave the victim feeling trapped and helpless, fearing that this behaviour may continue or escalate. It’s crucial to recognize that family and domestic violence is never the victim’s fault, and offering empathy and support to those experiencing this type of abuse is essential.
Employers can help employees prioritize their safety and well-being during these challenging times by providing access to family and Domestic Violence Leave.
Eligibility for Family and Domestic Violence Leave
All employees are eligible for family and domestic violence leave in Australia, regardless of their full-time, part-time, or casual status.
Employees can take paid leave to deal with family and domestic violence from different dates depending on the size of their employer. The leave is available from:
- 1 February 2023, for employees of non-small business employers (more than 15 employees)
- 1 August 2023, for employees of small business employers (fewer than 15 employees)
Employees of small business employers can continue to take unpaid family, and domestic violence leaves until 1 August 2023.
Amount of Leave and When It Can Be Taken
Under the new Family and Domestic Violence Leave policy, employees can take up to 10 days of leave in any given year to manage their situation due to family and domestic violence. This can include court appearances, medical appointments, organizing alternative accommodations, attending counselling sessions, or any other activity related to managing the impacts of family and domestic violence.
Potential Benefits for Employers
With the introduction of the Family and Domestic Violence Leave policy employers can demonstrate their commitment to providing all employees with a safe, supportive workplace. Not only does this leave give victims the time off they need to manage their situation, but it also encourages a positive and supportive workplace environment.
By implementing this leave policy, employers can show that their priority is the well-being of their employees and ensure they are provided with adequate support during times of distress.
The introduction of Family and Domestic Violence Leave in Australia is a positive step towards creating supportive workplaces for employees affected by family and domestic violence.
By providing victims with the time off they need to manage their situation, employers can show that their priority is the well-being of their team members. This policy allows employers to demonstrate their commitment to supporting those experiencing family or domestic violence while ensuring adequate protection for all staff members.
Need help? It’s okay to take it one step at a time…
It’s important to acknowledge that experiencing sexual assault and domestic or family violence can be an incredibly challenging and overwhelming experience. If any of these issues impact you or someone you know, know that you’re not alone and that people and resources are available to help.
You can contact 1800RESPECT, a confidential and free helpline that provides support, information, and counselling services to people impacted by these issues. The helpline is available 24/7, and you can call 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au to access support.
If you’re an employer and have, or think you have team members affected by family and domestic violence we’re here to offer our support and assistance. If you need more information about the Family and Domestic Violence Leave Policy, please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/family-and-domestic-violence-leave