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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.
From 1st February 2023
Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave for workers in Australia comprises of the following:
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 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:
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,
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:
A close relative is:
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.