What you should know about Family and Domestic Violence Leave

A decade-long campaign by Australian unions – including the AWU – means all workers will have access to up to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave.

This essential new workplace right will save lives and is available now for all workers in businesses with 15 or more employees, and from August 1 for smaller businesses.

The campaign to make paid family and domestic violence leave a reality began with one union member and one union fighting to introduce it in one workplace enterprise agreement.

Thousands of Aussie union members came on board, and their epic battle has culminated in the new Albanese Government making it its first workplace law reform.

Unionists across the nation who helped win this reform can now be justly proud of their commitment and determination.


What is it?

Paid family and domestic violence leave is for any worker who experiences violent, threatening or abusive behaviour by a close relative, a current or former intimate partner, or a member of their household who seeks to coerce or control them or causes them harm or fear.

(Close relatives can be a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a current or former spouse or de facto partner, or a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.)


How can I access it? 

If you need time to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence, and which you don’t practically have outside of work hours, you can take it. For example:

  • Arranging for your safety, or the safety of a close relative (including relocation);
  • Going to court;
  • Accessing police services;
  • Attending counselling, or appointments with medical, financial or legal professionals.


What do I tell the boss?

If you need to take family and domestic violence leave you must let your employer know as soon as possible, but this can be done after the leave has started.

Your boss can ask you to show that you need to do something to deal with family and domestic violence and that it’s not practical to do it outside of work hours.

But they can only use this information to satisfy themselves that you are entitled to the leave, unless:

  • You otherwise consent to them using it;
  • Your employer is required to deal with it by law;
  • It’s necessary to protect the life, health or safety of you or another person.

But your employer can’t use this information for any other purposes, including taking adverse action against you.

Need help at work? Contact your AWU delegate or join the union!


Will I get paid the same?

You will be paid whatever you would have if you had been at work.

Full-time and part-time employees can take this leave at their full-pay rate for the hours they would have worked as if they were working.

And casuals will be paid at their full-pay rate for the hours they were rostered to work in the period they took the leave.

(Full-pay rate includes: base rate; incentive-based payments and bonuses; loadings; monetary allowances; overtime; and penalty rates.)

Are you not getting paid correctly? Contact your AWU delegate or join the union!


Who pays for it?

Your employer must pay for any family and domestic violence leave you take. That’s why small business are getting extra time prepare for the change.


Will anyone see it on my payslips?

No. Employers must record leave balances and leave taken, but pay slips must not mention family and domestic violence leave, including any leave taken and leave balances.


Can I save it up?

No, family and domestic violence leave does not accumulate year to year, and any balance you are entitled to starts over on your work anniversary.


Why is this type of leave so important?

Paid family and domestic violence leave will literally save lives and help people escape abusers.

We live in a country where a woman is murdered by a partner or family member nearly every week, and one in four women has experienced violence since the age of 15 at the hands of an intimate partner.

And, on average, it costs $18,000 to flee a violent relationship in Australia, with economic security is a key factor determining whether you can escape.

So paid family and domestic violence leave changes this equation, and gives you and your family a way to escape an abuser without risking your job or your finances.

Need help at work? Contact your AWU delegate or join the union!


More information

If you have any questions about paid family and domestic violence leave, or are in danger of any kind, call the police, speak to your AWU delegate or HSR, or contact your AWU State Branch.

And if you are not a union member, why not? Join the AWU!

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