Family and domestic violence leave

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All employees in Australia are entitled to 10 days paid domestic violence leave from work. 

To find out more about what family and domestic violence is and how you can get help if you’re experiencing violence, you can visit our information page here. 

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Who can take family and domestic violence leave?

All employees who have been subject to family and domestic violence can access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year when they need it. This includes part-time and casual employees. 

The entitlement to paid family and domestic violence leave comes from the National Employment Standards (NES), which sets out the minimum employment standards for employees working in Australia. Your employment conditions may be covered by an Enterprise Agreement. All enterprise agreements must contain at least these minimum standards, or they can provide even better entitlements. If your employer has told you that you are not eligible for family and domestic violence leave, we strongly recommend that you contact us here. 

This leave is available to all employees, including part time and casual employees.

When can I take family and domestic violence leave?

You can take family and domestic violence leave if you are a ‘national system employee employee and you: 

  • are experiencing domestic violence and  
  • need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and  
  • can’t do so outside your ordinary hours of work.

Some examples of reasons you can take family and domestic violence leave include:

  • to make arrangements for your safety, or safety of a close relative; 
  • relocating to a new home or safe accommodation if you, or a parent, are escaping domestic violence; 
  • to see a counselor or doctor; or 
  • to access police services. 

How much leave do I get, and how much do I get paid?

You are entitled to up to 10 days paid leave when you commence with your employer. The 10 days renews every year from the anniversary of your commencement date at work.

Any unused leave does not carry over into the next year.

When taking family and domestic violence leave: 

  • Casual employees need to be paid their base pay rate (plus 25% casual loading) for any hours rostered on the days they are taking the family and domestic violence leave. Casual employees also need to be paid any other loadings, allowances or other amounts that they would have been paid;
  • Full time and part time employees need to be paid their base pay rate for all hours they would have worked, plus the penalty rates that applied for those hours.

What do I need to tell my employer? Do I need to prove why I am taking the leave? 

Notice  

If you need to take family and domestic violence leave, you need let your employer know as soon as possible. It’s OK if you can only let them know after the leave has started. You also need to tell your employer how long you expect the leave to last.

Evidence  

Your employer can ask you to provide reasonable evidence that the leave was taken to deal with an issue related to family and domestic violence. Types of evidence can include: 

  • documents issued by the police service 
  • documents issued by a court 
  • documents from a family violence support service, or 
  • a statutory declaration.

Employers must keep any information you give them confidential 

Your employer must ensure that the notice you give them, and any evidence you provide your employer are treated confidentially.

What about my payslip? Will that record why I took the leave?  
If you take family and domestic violence leave, your payslip must not mention paid family and domestic violence leave, this is important for your safety.  
Instead, this leave must be recorded as either ordinary hours of work, or another kind of payment such as an allowance, bonus or overtime payment.

If you need to take family and domestic violence leave but feel worried about talking to your employer or would like some help to talk to your employer, we recommend that you contact us for free and confidential advice. 

Can my employer fire me because I've taken time off due to family and domestic violence?

No. Your employer cannot fire you or treat you differently to your colleagues (like cutting your shifts back) just because you have been subject to family or domestic violence. That’s because we have discrimination laws in Australia which protect you. For more information see our page Discrimination in the Workplace.

Workplace policies about family and domestic violence leave  

Your workplace may have their own policies about family and domestic violence that provide additional support to the National Employment Standards. We recommend that you check whether your workplace has an enterprise agreement or any specific policies to support employees who are experiencing family and domestic violence.  

Support for family and domestic violence  

 You can also contact the following services for help: 

  • 1800RESPECTprovides 24-hour counselling, support, and referral for anyone whose life has been impacted by sexual, domestic, or family violence on 1800 737 732. 
  • Kids Helpline is a free counselling service that helps young people from age 5 to 25 years old. You do not even have to give them your name or personal details if you do not want to. You can call them 24 hours a day on 1800 55 1800. You can also email them here, or get in contact with their online chat service here 

Who can I talk to for legal advice? 

If you’re under 25 and you have a question about domestic violence leave that we haven’t answered, please ask us a question here and we can give you some free information and advice. 

You can also visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website here 

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