Family and Domestic Violence Leave
Did you know that all employees (including part-time and casuals) are entitled to 5 days' unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave in each 12 months?
This entitlement is separate to an employee's personal leave and annual leave entitlements and should not be deducted from an employee's balance unless requested by the employee and approved by the organisation.
The purpose of this leave is to support employees to manage situations arising from family and domestic violence, whether the victim or the perpetrator. The impact of family and domestic violence on an individual and/or their children varies, from heightened financial stress, homelessness, isolation, vulnerability and even a sense of shame. Having access to time off to get things sorted out, without fear of losing their job, can be a massive relief for affected employees.
Ensuring that your organisation is supporting and managing the process of accessing family and domestic violence leave can assist to limit the negative impacts for both the individual and the organisation.
Of course, as this is a very sensitive issue, it is vital that the owners/leaders of the organisation are equipped to handle the situation sensitively, confidentially and with compassion.
As an organisation, you can also consider whether you wish to offer an entitlement over and above what is required in the NES, such as extending the number of days that can be taken, or offering paid leave for part or all of the 5 days. For example, one of our clients has a policy that provides for the 5 days' of Family and Domestic Violence Leave at half pay, on the provision of reasonable evidence.
If you, one of your team, or someone you know is dealing with family and domestic violence, they can access support by contacting 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).
The Fair Work Ombudsman has put together an Employer's Guide to help you manage these issues.