Family and Domestic Violence Leave: What Are My Rights?

Sophia Divirgilio Category 01 0 Comments


Domestic and Family violence leave is something that is not talked about a lot but an extremely important part of knowing all the leave entitlements for Australian employees. This type of leave came into effect in 2018. Being so new, a lot of employers may still be coming to fully understand it.

This horrific issue is something that has affected many Australians. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 1 in 6 women have been affected by domestic violence and 1 in 16 men have been affected. This statistic represents how prominent this is in our society and shows the very big chance that unfortunately employees in your workplace could be affected.

What is Family and Domestic Violence?

This is when an employee’s family member, close relative or spouse treats them in a violent, threatening, and abusive manner. This behaviour may attempt to seek control over the employee or cause harm and fear in them.

A close relative is considered an employee:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • De factor partner or former partner
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Sibling

This violence can take many forms. Here are some examples below:

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual assault or sexual abusive behaviour
  • Stalking
  • Financial abuse
  • Damage to property or belongings
  • Emotional or psychological abuse

A person being affected by something as serious and family and domestic violence can be extremely detrimental to their mental and physical wellbeing. This is not a personal issue to the employee; it can create an entire issue within your business effecting your corporate culture and community. It can also lead to a very serious workplace health and safety issue if the perpetrator begins to harass and stalk the employee at work.

For employees experiencing this kind of violence in their home life your workplace can be considered a refuge for them. As an organisation you are not only providing financial support for the employees but social support also.

Unfortunately, family, and domestic violence effecting your employees can have a huge effect on your business too. Increased absenteeism, increased employee turnover, legal liabilities and a decreased productivity levels are a few of the consequences of this behaviour.

Being aware and having clear communication offering a safe space for open communication with your employees is the best way to notice the warning signs and offer your support as an employer.

What are the Family and Domestic Violence leave entitlements?

All full – time, part – time and casual employees are entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave. This leave renews every 12 months of employment, it does not accumulate. It can be taken over single continuous periods or separate periods of one or more days.

An employee can also use the paid sick and carers leave as a result of family / domestic violence. Eg. A personal injury affecting the employee or relative.

Unfortunately, family and domestic violence is something that you as an employee or employer need to be very aware of. It is important to remember that many employees may find it daunting and embarrassing asking for Domestic Violence leave. Creating a safe space for communication and being aware of the signs is a good way to offer your support.

Create a workplace policy and procedure to specifically deal with Domestic and Family Violence. Ensure these policies and procedures are given to all employees so they are aware of their rights, and know how they can be supported.  

Make sure you educate your employees on their rights and entitlements when it comes to this type of leave. Education will facilitate greater awareness amongst workers and create a more supported working environment.

For any questions on employee entitlements call us or comment below.

Domestic Abuse Support Services:

1800 RESPECT (737 732)

Women’s Crisis Lines:

1800 811 811

Relationships Australia:

1300 364 277

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