Domestic and Family Violence Leave update

Emily Shoemark

04 Sep 2019


  • Employment Law
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In 2018, modern awards in Australia were updated to include an allowance for 5 days unpaid leave for domestic and family violence issues. Our earlier article on those changes can be accessed here.

Since that time, the entitlement has been extended to all employees in Australia, including casual employees. This includes all employees who are engaged under other agreements, including enterprise and collective bargaining agreements.

What are employees’ entitlements?

This leave is categorised differently to how other paid leave entitlements are accrued. The leave entitlement:

  • is a full 5 days of unpaid leave (if required), and is not pro-rated for casual or part-time employment
  • accrues at the start of each 12-month period (as opposed to accruing daily like annual or other paid leave)
  • does not roll over into subsequent years
  • is available to employees without having to first access their paid leave entitlements.

What must employees do?

Employees are required to give employers notice of their need to take this type of leave as soon as practicable. This should include an estimation of how long they expect to be on leave. An employer may require an employee to provide evidence that the leave was used for its intended purpose.

How is the leave calculated?

This leave is unpaid and so any application for leave approved by employers will not require any payment of the employee’s salary. This means that superannuation will not need to be paid and the unpaid leave will not count towards any calculation for long service leave or redundancy payments. It is, however, open to employers to determine whether they wish to pay their employees during the period of leave taken.

What does this mean for employers?

All employers in Australia should ensure that their internal policies are updated to reflect this new employee entitlement to leave. Employers may also include additional information, including whether they will offer paid leave (a discretionary matter), and examples as of what sort of evidence would be accepted, if an employee is required to produce it.

How can we help?

Our experienced Employment Law team can advise you about leave entitlements for your staff and help you ensure that all workplace policies and documents are up to date. You can contact us on 02 6285 8000 or by email.