Taking unpaid family and domestic violence leave
Find out when eligible employees can take unpaid family and domestic violence leave and how it interacts with other leave entitlements.
On this page:
- Support services
- Unpaid family and domestic violence leave
- When employees can take unpaid leave
- Interaction with other types of leave
- Tools and resources
- Related information
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.
Unpaid family and domestic violence leave
Employees employed by small business employers can access 5 days of unpaid leave from the first day they start work. They don’t have to build it up over time.
The 5 days renews every 12 months. It renews on an employee’s work anniversary.
The leave doesn’t accumulate from year to year if it isn’t used.
Example: Taking unpaid family and domestic violence leave
Kyle starts work at a small technology company on 14 December 2018.
From the first day he starts work, Kyle is entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave. This is because Kyle is employed by a small business employer.
In January 2019, Kyle takes one day of unpaid family and domestic violence leave. The next week, Kyle takes another day of this leave.
On 14 December 2019, Kyle is entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave again. The 3 days Kyle didn’t use during his first year of employment isn’t carried over to the next year.
From 1 August 2023, Kyle becomes entitled to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave.
When employees can take unpaid leave
Employees must be experiencing family and domestic violence to be eligible to take unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
These employees can take this unpaid leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.
For example, this could include:
- making arrangements for their safety, or safety of a close relative (including relocation)
- attending court hearings
- 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 one day at a time, or
- more than 5 days.
Unpaid family and domestic violence leave doesn’t break an employee’s period of continuous service. However, the leave doesn’t count as service when calculating accumulated entitlements, such as paid leave.
Read more about Unpaid leave and continuous service in our Library.
Interaction with other types of leave
Employees experiencing family and domestic violence may want to take other types of leave. For example, paid annual leave.
Depending on the circumstances, there may also be times when the employee is entitled to paid sick or carer’s leave.
Learn more about these types of leave at:
Employees may 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.
Tools and resources
- Employer guide to family and domestic violence;
- Flexible working arrangements best practice guide
- The right to request flexible working arrangements best practice guide