Family & Domestic Violence Leave
Late last year, the Government’s Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2022 passed through Parliament. This legislation introduced key changes to the existing provisions including:
ten days of paid family and domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards (NES), replacing the existing entitlement in the NES to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave; and
extending the definition of family and domestic violence to include conduct of a current or former intimate partner of an employee, or a member of an employee's household.
The new legislation kicked in from 1 February 2023 for large businesses, with small businesses (as defined by Fair Work) having an extra 6 months to adjust to the changes, meaning it will come into effect for them from 1 August 2023.
It will apply to full-time, part-time and casual workers and naturally the application of paid leave for casuals introduces a particular degree of complexity. This legislation will apply even to those organisations with a collective agreement in place and will replace any existing terms in contracts or agreements relating to family and domestic violence leave (unless your existing provisions are more favourable).
This issue is not one to be taken lightly. One in four women have experienced violence by an intimate partner. And on average, one woman is killed by an intimate partner every 10 days. And it is not an issue faced by women alone.
This legislation increases the responsibility placed on businesses to contribute to a societal problem. We cannot remain blind to these issues and anything that can be done to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and support the victims of these unacceptable crimes should be considered.
What will require careful navigation now is this legislation which effectively puts an obligation on employers to become involved in highly personal and sensitive matters. This is not without significant practical challenges (for both the employer and the employee).
What you need to do:
Make sure you are ready to implement this additional form of paid leave by either 1 February or 1 August depending on your business size
Check in with your payroll system provider to ensure they have the payroll codes set up, compliant with Fair Work’s specifications on how to record this leave
Consider implementing a policy to help people understand what the leave is for and how to access it and what evidence and communication is expected
Develop a safety management plan specific to FDV situations to help guide conversations between employees and their managers
Educate and support your managers on how to handle conversations with employees dealing with FDV situations
Ensure you have an Employee Assistance (EA) program in place
Focus HR are able to support businesses with ensuring this leave is implemented with sensitivity and care. If you would like assistance with this, please reach out to email@example.com or call 4765 3456.
Naomi Wilson – Founding Director – Focus HR