10 days’ paid family and domestic violence leave for all employees becomes law

The Commonwealth Parliament has passed a bill confirming a right to paid leave for all employees, including casuals, who are impacted by family and domestic violence (FDV). The new paid leave entitlement will be captured in the Fair Work Act 2009.  For non-small business employers, the amendments will come into effect on 1 February 2023, and for small business employers they will take effect from 1 August 2023.

The amendments expand the definition of FDV to include acts of violence and coercive control by former intimate partners and unrelated household members, where it was previously limited to that conduct carried out by current partners and members of a person’s immediate family.

FDV leave will be the first form of paid leave permanently available to casual employees.  It is also important to note that FDV leave will be paid at the full rate of pay the employee would have received had they not been absent.

In support of the move to extend the paid leave to casuals, Minister for Employment Tony Burke highlighted that people experiencing FDV are more likely to be employed in casual work, and casual workers already deal with the consequences of being in insecure work, meaning they are disproportionally affected by FDV.

Key takeaways:

  • Full-time, part-time, and casual employees will be entitled to 10 days’ paid FDV leave per annum from 1 February 2023 for non-small business employees, or 1 August 2023 for small business employees.
  • Casual employees are entitled to the leave for shifts that have been offered and accepted prior to their request to take paid FDV leave.
  • Employees are entitled to be paid at their full rate of pay (including the casual loading for casuals), as opposed to their base rate of pay, during the ten-day leave period. The full rate of pay will be calculated as if the employee had worked the hours for which the employee was rostered during the period subject of the request.
  • The full ten days of FDV leave becomes available to employees at the onset of employment and then resets annually on the employment anniversary date – it does not cumulatively accrue from year to year.
  • Consistent with the previous unpaid FDV leave entitlement, evidence that the leave is taken for FDV reasons can be sought by the employer.

If you are unsure as to how to best assist an employee experiencing family and domestic violence, or whether your employment contracts need updating to reflect these entitlements, you should seek advice from the specialist employment lawyers at Aitken Legal today.

Disclaimer: The information contained this article is general and intended as a guide only. Professional advice should be sought before applying any of the information to particular circumstances. While every reasonable care has been taken in the preparation of this update, Aitken Legal does not accept liability for any errors it may contain. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.