Family and domestic violence leave

All employees are entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year. This includes full-time, part-time and casual employees.

Support services

1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.

Family and domestic violence

Family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by certain individuals known to an employee that both:

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

To access paid family and domestic violence leave, the individual known to the employee could be:

  • an employee’s close relative
  • a member of an employee's household, or
  • a current or former intimate partner of an employee.

A close relative is:

  • 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.

1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. This service can also provide confidential information about what it means to be experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence.

Paid family and domestic violence leave

All employees can access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year. This includes full-time, part-time and casual employees.

Employees must be experiencing family and domestic violence to be eligible to take paid family and domestic violence leave.

The entitlement to paid family and domestic violence leave comes from the National Employment Standards (NES). It’s a paid minimum leave entitlement, like annual leave or paid sick and carer’s leave.

Video: Family and domestic violence leave

Watch our short video to learn about:

  • how much paid leave employees can access
  • when employees can access the leave
  • notice and evidence requirements.

 

How the leave accrues

An employee’s paid leave entitlement is available in full immediately and resets on their work anniversary. It doesn’t accumulate from year to year.

Paid family and domestic violence leave is a standalone leave entitlement. This means employees get it separately from other types of leave, such as annual leave or paid sick and carer’s leave.

Example: Accessing paid leave for employees

Amy is a full-time employee who started working for a cleaning business on 1 March.

From 1 March, Amy is entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave

In June, Amy uses 2 days of paid leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence by accessing police services and attending counselling. Her leave balance reduces to 8 days.

Amy’s entitlement to paid family and domestic violence leave renews to 10 days on 1 March in the following year. This is the anniversary of her start date with her employer.

Registered and enterprise agreements

Employers and employees should check any agreement that applies to them, to see if it provides any additional entitlements or conditions for dealing with family and domestic violence.

Eligible employees get 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave even if their agreement provides less. This is because the NES always applies as the minimum entitlement, even if an award or agreement provides less.

Types of agreements include:

  • registered agreements
  • enterprise awards, or
  • state reference public sector awards.

You can go to the Fair Work Commission – Find an agreement database to search for an agreement.

Workplace policies

Some businesses may provide paid family and domestic violence leave entitlements in their employment contracts or workplace policies.

If an employment contract or workplace policy has less than the minimum entitlement in the NES, the NES entitlement applies. This means eligible employees get 10 days paid leave to deal with family and domestic violence, even if a contract gives less.

Example: Workplace policies about family and domestic violence leave

Jo is entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year under the NES.

Jo’s employer also has a family and domestic violence leave policy that provides all employees with an entitlement to 2 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year.

Jo’s entitlement under the NES is more generous than their employer’s policy. This means Jo is entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year.

Protection from discrimination

Employees are protected from adverse action because they’re experiencing (or have experienced) family and domestic violence. This also applies to future employees.

This is because experiencing family and domestic violence is a ‘protected attribute’. Employers can’t take adverse action against an employee because of a protected attribute.

Examples of adverse action can include:

  • dismissal
  • changing an employee’s job to their disadvantage
  • being treated differently to other employees.

Find out more about adverse action and discrimination at Protection from discrimination at work.

Unpaid family and domestic violence leave

Before the introduction of paid family and domestic violence leave, eligible employees could access 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave. This leave entitlement is no longer available.

Learn more from our Library article: Unpaid family and domestic violence leave before the 2023 changes.

Tools and resources

Related information

Have a workplace problem?

Problems can happen in any workplace. If you have a workplace problem, we have tools and information to help you resolve it.

Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical information about:

  • working out if there is a problem
  • speaking with your employer or employee about fixing the problem
  • getting help from us if you can't fix the problem.

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