Family & domestic violence leave

Most employees can take unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence, following a Fair Work Commission decision external-icon.png.

The Fair Work Commission has updated all industry and occupation awards to include a new clause about family and domestic violence leave. This new clause applies from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018.

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Who is entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave?

All employees (including casual employees) covered by an award with the new clause are entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

All industry and occupation awards have the new family and domestic violence leave entitlements. You can find these awards on our List of awards page or use Find my award to find out which award applies to you.

Find out about Taking family and domestic violence leave and Notice and evidence requirements.

Are there any exceptions?

Some awards don't include the new unpaid family and domestic leave entitlement. These awards are:

Employees covered by these awards aren't entitled to the new unpaid family and domestic violence leave entitlements. However, they might be entitled to other paid or unpaid entitlements in their award that they can access in these circumstances, or their employer might have a workplace policy allowing them to take family and domestic violence leave. Check the award for more information.

Employees covered by agreements

Employees covered by enterprise and other registered agreements aren't entitled to the new unpaid family and domestic violence leave in awards. However, their agreement might include or incorporate the leave, or there may be other paid or unpaid entitlements in their agreement that they can access in these circumstances. Check your agreement on the Fair Work Commission website external-icon.png.

Award and agreement free employees

Award and agreement free employees aren't entitled to the new unpaid family and domestic violence leave entitlements. Go to our Award and agreement free wages and conditions page for more information about their entitlements.

Workplace policies about family and domestic violence leave

Some businesses may provide paid or unpaid family and domestic violence leave entitlements in their employment contracts or workplace policies. The amount of leave and pay entitlements will depend on the contract or policy.

If an employment contract or workplace policy provides less than the minimum entitlement in the applicable award, the award entitlement still applies.

Example: Workplace policies about family and domestic violence leave

An employee is covered by the Clerks Award and entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave each year under the Clerks Award.

Their employer also has a family and domestic violence leave policy that gives employees an entitlement to 2 days of unpaid leave each year.

The employee’s entitlement under the Clerks Award is more than their employer’s policy. That means they are entitled to the 5 days under the Clerks Award.

What is family and domestic violence?

Family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee
  • causes them harm or fear.

A family member includes:

  • an employee's:
    • spouse or former spouse
    • de facto partner or former de facto partner
    • child
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • grandchild
    • sibling
  • an employee's current or former spouse or de facto partner's child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or
  • a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules. 

Confidential information, counselling and support for people impacted by domestic and family violence is available at the 1800 RESPECT website external-icon.png, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.

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