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Employees now entitled to paid family and domestic violence leave

By CCIWA Editor 

Paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave has come into effect from 1 February 2023, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced.

Employees of non-small businesses – those with 15 or more employees – can now access 10 days of paid leave for this purpose each year. This includes part-time and casual employees.

For eligible employees this paid leave replaces their previous entitlement of 5 days FDV unpaid leave. The paid leave entitlement is available immediately in full (10 days) and resets on the employee’s annual work anniversary – it does not accumulate year to year if unused.

The entitlement will be rolled out to small businesses (less than 15 employees) on 1 August 2023. Until then, their employees will be entitled to continue taking 5 days of unpaid FDV leave in a 12-month period.

What is family and domestic violence and who does the leave apply to?

FDV is defined as “violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a family member of an employee that seeks to coerce or control that employee and that causes them harm or to be fearful”.

A family member is defined as:

  • a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee
  • a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a spouse or de facto partner of the employee
  • a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

A person can take paid FDV leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence, for example:

  • making arrangements for their safety, or safety of a close relative (including relocation)
  • attending court hearings
  • accessing police services.

The leave doesn’t need to be taken all at once. It can be taken as single or multiple days.

An employer and employee can also agree for an employee to take less than one day at a time.

Registered and enterprise agreements

FDV leave has been added to the National Employment Standards (NES) as a minimum leave entitlement, like paid annual leave, personal leave or carer’s leave. This means eligible employees are entitled to 10 days of paid FDV regardless of if their employee agreement (registered agreements, enterprise awards and state reference public sector awards) provides for less. In this instance, the NES entitlement will override it.

Family and domestic violence impacts workplaces, says Fair Work Commission

FWC has formally regarded FDV as a potential “workplace health and safety issue” as if a perpetrator harasses someone at their workplace, it can put the employee and their co-workers in danger. Workplaces may also become a place of safety and support for employees. FWC also stated it is a productivity issue as someone experiencing FDV may be more likely to take unplanned days off work; arrive late or finish early; could appear distracted, unmotivated or anxious; and workplaces may have higher turnover rates.

Confidentiality

Employers are obligated to take reasonable steps to keep an information about the employee’s situation confidential when they are notified of it as part of their leave application. However, employers can disclose information only if they are required by law, or if necessary to protect the life, health or safety of the employee or another person.

While employers are obligated to keep a record of leave taken and leave balances, pay slips must not include FDV leave. It is recommended that if FDV leave must be recorded on a pay slip, that a non-identifying leave line is used instead.

Need more information?

Contact our Employment Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or email advice@cciwa.com.

Paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave has come into effect from 1 February 2023, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced.

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