Taking family & domestic violence leave

On 6 December 2018 the Fair Work Amendment (Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2018 (the Bill) passed both Houses of Parliament.

The Bill won’t become law until it receives Royal Assent by the Governor-General.

When the Bill receives Royal Assent, it will change the Fair Work Act 2009 external-icon.png to include an entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards (NES).

The new entitlement will apply to all employees (including part-time and casual employees). Employees will be entitled to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.

We’ll update this page with more information when the Bill receives Royal Assent and the new law applies. Please keep visiting this page in the coming days.

Read below for information on this page below to find out what applies now.

From the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018, all employees covered by an award with the new family and domestic violence leave clause 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 1 September 2018. This employee is entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave from the day they start work.

In early November, the employee takes 1 day of unpaid family and domestic violence leave. The next week, they take another day.

On 1 September 2019, this employee is entitled to 5 days again. The 3 days they didn’t use during their first year of employment don’t carry over into the next year.

When can employees take family and domestic violence leave?

Employees can take the leave if they need 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 family member (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.

Continuous service

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 & 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 and carer’s 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.

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.

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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