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New Legislation - Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Updated: Nov 6, 2022

Effective from 12 December 2018, all employees (including part-time and casual) are entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave as part of the National Employment Standards (NES). The entitlement, under the NES, is five days’ unpaid leave, accessible where an employee:

  • is experiencing family and domestic violence;

  • needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence; and

  • it is impractical for the employee to do that thing outside his/her ordinary hours of work.

This could include making arrangements for their safety or the safety of a family member (including relocation), attending urgent court hearings, or accessing police services. This new entitlement differs from standard forms of leave under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) in that it:

  • is available “in full” (ie five days) at the start of each 12-month period of an employee’s employment;

  • applies to all employees, including casuals; and

  • does not accumulate from year to year and does not accrue during a year.

Employers may choose to provide employees with additional entitlements (above and beyond what is legislatively required). For example, allowing employees to access paid personal/carer’s leave entitlements for reasons related to domestic or family violence or providing additional paid leave. Please reach out if you’d like help communicating these new leave provisions to your employees or if you’d like help developing and implementing a policy that is consistent with any contract, Award or enterprise agreement which applies to employees within your business. Consider engaging HR consultancy services to help manage, develop and implement HR policies and processes that will help engage, retain and develop your employees as well as ensure compliance and best practice with industry standards.

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