The National Employment Standards were recently updated to provide full-time, part-time and casual employees with 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave. The entitlement is not pro-rated for part-time or casual employees.

The 10 days paid family and domestic leave will be available up front to employees, as follows:

  • For non-small businesses, employees will be entitled to access the new entitlement from 1 February 2023.
  • For small businesses (which means employers with less than 15 employees), employees will be entitled to access the new entitlement from 1 August 2023. Employees can continue to access the current 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave entitlement in the meantime.

The entitlement will not accumulate from year to year if it is not used however it is important employers have systems in place to allocate the full 10 day entitlement up front to both new and existing employees.

  • For employees who start after 1 February 2023, or 1 August 2023 for small business employees, they will be entitled to the full 10 days from their first day of work and their 10 day paid entitlement will reset on their work anniversary each year.
  • For existing employees, they can access the full 10 day entitlement on 1 February 2023, or 1 August 2023 for small business employees, and their 10 day paid entitlement will reset on their work anniversary each year (not 1 February or 1 August as the case may be).

For full-time and part-time employees, the entitlement is paid at the employee’s full pay rate, which includes applicable allowances or loadings. For casual employees, they will be paid their full rate of pay for the hours the employee was rostered to work in the period they take leave.

Employers may ask employees to provide evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person of the need to take paid family and domestic violence leave. Any information provided must be handled appropriately and not used for any purpose other than to verify the leave, unless an exception applies (e.g. where disclosure is necessary to protect the life, health or safety of the employee or another person).

Finally, it is important employers update their payroll systems to ensure any family and domestic violence leave accessed is not identifiable on employee pay slips.

The new leave provisions will be reviewed after 12 months to consider the impacts on small businesses, sole traders and those experiencing family violence.

These amendments will most likely necessitate changes to policies, payroll systems and supporting processes, in addition to upskilling leaders who will deal with these situations. Decipher Workplace Law is well placed to help guide employers through these changes. For more information, contact us.

The Fair Work Ombudsman also has some useful employer resources.

This is general advice only and does not constitute legal advice. Please seek legal advice regarding your specific circumstances