Taking 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 the 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 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year of their employment. This includes part-time and casual employees.
Employees are entitled to the full 5 days from the day they start work. They don’t have to build it up over time.
The 5 days renews each 12 months but doesn’t accumulate from year to year if it isn’t used.
Example: Taking family and domestic violence leave
An employee started work on 14 December 2018. This employee is entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave from the day they start work.
In January, the employee takes 1 day of unpaid family and domestic violence leave. The next week, they take another day.
On 14 December 2019, this employee is entitled to 5 days again. The 3 days they didn’t use during their first year of employment aren’t carried over into the next year.
When can employees take family and domestic violence leave?
Employees can take the leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it's impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.
For example, this could include:
- making arrangements for their safety, or safety of a close relative (including relocation)
- attending court hearings, or
- accessing police services.
The leave doesn’t need to be taken all at once and can be taken as single or multiple days.
An employer and employee can also agree for an employee to take less than 1 day at a time, or for the employee to take more than 5 days.
Unpaid family and domestic violence leave doesn’t break an employee’s period of continuous service but doesn’t count as service when calculating accumulated entitlements such as paid leave.
Read more about Unpaid leave and continuous service in our Library.
Other types of leave
Employees experiencing family and domestic violence may want to take other types of leave, such as annual leave. Depending on the circumstances, there may also be times when they’re entitled to paid sick leave.
For more information on these types of leave, go to:
Employees might also want to access flexible working arrangements. Flexibility in the workplace allows employers and employees to make arrangements about working conditions that suit them. For more information go to Flexibility in the workplace.
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.106B
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
, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
Think a mistake might have been made?
Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.
Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:
- figuring out if a mistake has been made
- talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
- getting help from us if you can't resolve it.
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