Family & domestic violence leave

On 12 December 2018 the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2018 took effect. The Fair Work Act 2009 now includes an entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave as part of the National Employment Standards (NES).

This entitlement applies to all employees (including part-time and casual employees). It applies from 12 December 2018.

The information on this page has been updated to reflect the new entitlement.

Since 1 August 2018, employees covered by industry and occupation awards have been able to access unpaid family and domestic violence leave under their award, following a Fair Work Commission decision to introduce this entitlement into these awards. However, the recent changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 mean that all employees now have access to this leave entitlement, regardless of whether they’re covered by an award or not. Read more below.

All employees are entitled to unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence.

Read more about:

Who is entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave?

All employees (including part-time and casual employees) are entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.

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

How does the new NES entitlement affect the existing award entitlement to unpaid leave?

On 1 August 2018, all industry and occupation awards were updated to include unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

The award entitlement is for the same amount of leave as the new entitlement in the NES. 

This means that for all employees covered by industry and occupation awards, the amount of the entitlement hasn’t changed.

Employees covered by registered agreements, enterprise awards or state reference public sector awards may still be entitled to other paid or unpaid entitlements in their award or agreement that they can access in these circumstances. If the award or agreement provides less than the minimum entitlement in the NES, the NES entitlement still applies.

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 National Employment Standards (NES), the NES entitlement still applies.

Example: Workplace policies about family and domestic violence leave

An employee is entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave each year under the NES.

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 NES is more than their employer’s policy. That means they are entitled to the 5 days each year.

What is family and domestic violence?

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

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

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. 

Support services for people impacted by family & domestic violence

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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