Australian workers are now able to take 10 days paid domestic violence leave, under an initiative of the Federal Government, replacing the previous system of unpaid leave for those affected by family and domestic violence.
All casual, part-time, and full-time workers will be able to draw on up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave in a 12-month period. The initiative came into force as of 1 February 2023. Paid domestic violence leave for those employed in small businesses with less than 15 employees will commence on 1 August 2023.
Paid leave is another step in addressing the finance effects on those who are experiencing domestic violence. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in six women and one in sixteen men experience family and domestic violence. Escaping domestic violence can cost the victims on average, $18,000, as they need to move out of home, replace furniture, attend court, seek counselling and other costs.
Paid domestic violence leave is available to any employee who is subjected to abusive, violent or threatening behaviour by a current or former partner, close relative or a member of their household. Family and domestic violence is not just physically violent or abusive behaviour. It also includes behaviour designed to coerce or control a person or make them fearful. It can be behaviour carried out by an intimate partner (such as a husband, wife or de facto partner), but also a close relative or someone they are living with.
Employees will be paid at their full rate of pay for the hours that they would have otherwise worked. Casual employees will be paid at their full rate of pay for those days that they were rostered on to work but were unable to.
The leave does not accrue like long service leave etc – it resets every year on an employee’s work anniversary.
Employees are able to use family and domestic violence leave to deal with the effects of family and domestic violence. It can be used for:
The leave is available when they need to do something to deal with family and domestic violence that they are unable to do outside of work hours.
Employers will pay for family and domestic violence leave. The previous system provided for 5 days of unpaid leave for each employee every year. Under the new system employers will pay for the cost of providing the new leave. It is expected that the cost to employers will be minimal. This is because only a small number of employees will be eligible for the leave. The improvements in productivity as a result of employees’ needs being addressed in a time of crisis, and improved relationships between employer and employee, will offset any costs that will be incurred.
Employers are entitled to ask employees to provide evidence if they want to access family and domestic violence leave.
An employer is entitled to ask for evidence such as:
An employer is entitled to be satisfied that what the employee needs to do because of family or domestic violence is unable to be done outside of work hours.
The leave will not appear on any payslips for the employee in order to protect them from monitoring by any abusive partner.
More information on family and domestic violence leave can be found here.
Support is available at the Domestic Violence Action Centre. Their phone number is 07 4642 1354 (Toowoomba) or 07 3816 3000 (Ipswich) or 1800 RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
If you are in immediate danger, you should call triple zero (000) straight away.
If the above article has raised questions for you regarding family and domestic violence in the Toowoomba or Darling Downs area, then please call our Sandra or Chloe on 07 4632 8484 to make an appointment to speak with a ReesLaw lawyer. We have many years of experience in dealing with both family and domestic violence.
Copyright © 2023 reeslaw.com | All Rights Reserved. | Digital Agency - Supple