For those who are not already aware, the Australian Government recently passed legislation to amend the Fair Work Act and introduce paid family and domestic violence leave for all Australian workers.
This means that from February 2023, employers will be required to provide all employees (regardless of employment status) with ten days of paid domestic violence leave each year. If you are a small business (i.e. employ less than 15 people), you have until 1 August 2023 to comply with this legislation.
In this article, we break down the details of this recent development and what you as an employer will need to consider.
This paid family and domestic violence leave which is now enshrined in the National Employment Standards (NES) with ten days of paid domestic violence leave, will be available to all workers in full-time, part time and casual employment from February 2023 (small businesses being the exception).
Previously, Australian workers were entitled to five days of unpaid family domestic violence leave each year.
Domestic violence is more prevalent in Australia than we would like to think and affects both women and men. Research suggests that approximately 1 in 6 Australian women and 1 in 16 Australian men have experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner. By any measure in a civilised society, neither of these figures are acceptable. The new leave entitlements will be available to all employees regardless of gender.
As Akyra’s Managing Director, Margaret Goody explains, “the introduction of paid family and domestic violence will provide more than 11 million Australian workers with more time and resources to address and limit the impact of this scourge on their lives.”
Important information for employers
There are a number of key points that you need to be aware of.
Firstly, all employees are entitled to paid family and domestic violence leave. This means:
- full-time and part time employees at their full rate of pay; and
- casual employees at their full rate or pay for the hours they were rostered to work in the period they took leave.
Secondly, this leave will be accessible from the first day of employment and renews on an employee’s work anniversary, without concern or the need for accrual.
What are the evidentiary requirements?
As an employer, you will be entitled to ask for evidence to demonstrate the employee needs time away from work to deal with the family and domestic violence. You can only use this information to satisfy yourself that the employee is entitled to take leave and not for any disciplinary action. Mishandling the information can have an adverse impact on your employee. You are not prevented from disclosing the information if:
- it is required by law.
- it is necessary to protect the life, health and safety of the employee or another person; or
- the employee consents.
If the employee fails to comply with your request for evidence, that employee may be deemed ineligible for the leave
Akyra’s Key Takeaways
- Recently passed legislation will introduce paid domestic violence leave to all Australian workers… whether the employee works on a full-time, part-time or casual basis
- Employers will be required to provide ten days of paid domestic leave annually to each employee from the day the employee starts work
- For businesses with 15 or more employees, these changes come into effect on 1 February, 2023
- For small businesses with less than 15 employees, these changes come into effect on 1 August 2023
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
Akyra can help your business to assist and support all your questions and concerns related to paid family and domestic violence leave. Please contact Akyra on 07 3204 8830 or book a free 30-minute consultation for an obligation-free conversation.
Disclaimer – Reliance on Content
The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not intended to be legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.