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10 Days of Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave


10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave are now a part of the National Employment Standards (NES) in Australia, effective of 1 February 2023. Leave is available to all employees, casual, part-time and full-time alike.


Why do we have 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave? 


This leave is designed to support employees who need time off to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence, and to ensure that they can return to work with the necessary support.  

It costs $18,000 on average to escape a violent relationship. From today, millions of workers across Australia can access 10 days paid leave, which is critical to accessing medical, legal, financial, emergency housing, safety planning, relocation and counselling services. 

The introduction of 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave is a response to the need for better support for workers who are affected by family and domestic violence. The new laws recognize that dealing with such a situation can have a significant impact on an individual’s personal and professional life, and aim to provide financial security during a difficult time. This is an important step towards ensuring that working women have the necessary support to address family and domestic violence and to recover from its effects.  

The laws aim to create a safer and more supportive workplace for all employees, and to promote gender equality in the workplace. The achievement of this landmark legislation is a testament to the tireless efforts of women’s organizations, trade unions and working women’s centres, who have campaigned tirelessly to secure better working conditions and protections for women in the workplace. 


Snapshot of Entitlement

From 1st February 2023 

Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave for workers in Australia comprises of the following:  

  • Full-time, part-time and casual employees are eligible for 10 days of paid leave for family and domestic violence in a 12-month period. 
  • The 10-day leave is available upfront, not pro-rated for part-time or casual employees, and does not accumulate if unused. 
  • Non-small business employees can access the leave from February 1st, 2023. Small business employees (employers with 15 or less employees) can access it from August 1st, 2023. 
  • Employers are prohibited from including information about the leave on an employee’s pay slip from February 1st, 2023. 
  • Employees still have access to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave until the new paid leave is available. 
  • The impact of the new leave will be reviewed after 12 months for small businesses, sole traders and those experiencing family and domestic violence. 


How is it paid?

Full-time and Part-time Employees  

Full-time and part-time employees can take paid family and domestic violence leave at their full pay rate for the hours they would have worked if they weren’t on leave. 

Casual Employees 

Casual employees will be paid at their full pay rate for the hours they were rostered to work in the period they took leave. 

An employee’s full pay rate is their base rate plus any: 

  • incentive-based payments and bonuses 
  • loadings 
  • monetary allowances 
  • overtime or penalty rates 
  • any other separately identifiable amounts. 


How to apply

To apply for paid family and domestic violence leave, an employee should follow their employer’s usual process for applying for leave. They should provide their employer with written notice of the leave as soon as possible and advise the dates they intend to take the leave, or the period of leave if the dates are uncertain. It could be the case that you advise your employer after you start the leave. This is okay. You just need to advise your employer as soon as possible and the law understands that you can’t plan for a crisis.  

In most case you do not need to provide evidence. 

In regard to the evidence required, the employee does not need to provide any evidence of the family and domestic violence.  

An employer can ask their employee for evidence to show that the employee needs to do something to deal with family and domestic violence and it’s not practical to do that outside their hours of work 

However, if the employer reasonably requests evidence, the employee must provide evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that they need to take the leave because of family and domestic violence. This could include, but is not limited to,  

  • a police report, 
  •  a court order,  
  • or a statement from a medical professional employer as soon as possible. 


Communication with your employer 

It is important for the employee to communicate openly with their employer about their need for the leave, and to provide any necessary information and evidence in a timely manner. Be clear with your employer about any delays and difficulties.  

The employer must treat any information provided in relation to family and domestic violence as confidential. 


Meaning of family and domestic violence 

Under the new provisions, family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative, a current or former intimate partner, or a member of their household that both: 

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee 
  • causes them harm or fear. 

A close relative is: 

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


What are the National Employment Standards?

The NES sets out 11 minimum employment conditions that apply to all national system employees, including the right to take paid family and domestic violence leave. 

The NES is a fundamental aspect of the Australian employment law framework and provides a safety net of fair and reasonable minimum terms and conditions of employment for all employees.  

How does the National Employment Standards relate to Modern Awards? 

The NES is incorporated into the terms of modern awards, which set out the minimum conditions of employment for specific industries or occupations. Modern awards provide a safety net of fair and reasonable minimum terms and conditions of employment for all employees covered by the award, in addition to the 11 minimum employment conditions set out in the NES. 

For example, a modern award for the retail industry might include additional provisions for things like penalty rates, loadings, and allowances, as well as the 11 NES minimum conditions. In this way, modern awards build on the NES to provide more comprehensive and industry or sector specific minimum employment conditions for employees in a particular industry or occupation. The NES and modern awards together form the cornerstone of the Fair Work system in Australia and provide a strong foundation of employment rights and protections for all employees. 


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