Commencing at the start of February this year, the Fair Work Act has provided for a new, paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave (FDV) entitlement. All businesses will need to comply, however the entitlement is being introduced in two phases, depending on the number of employees they have on 1 February 2023:
- Employers with 15 or more employees (non-small business employers) must provide the entitlement from 1 February 2023;
- Employers with less than 15 employees (small business employers) must provide the entitlement from 1 August 2023.
The entitlement, which applies to all employees including part-time and casual, entitles employees to 10 days of paid FDV leave each year. The new entitlement replaces the current five days of unpaid lave available under the National Employment Standards however, employees of small businesses can continue to take this entitlement until the 1st August.
FDV is available to employees upfront, it doesn’t accrue and neither does it accumulate year on year if it is unused. The leave entitlement resets to 10 days on the employee’s work anniversary. For those employees starting work after the introduction of FDV leave, their paid leave entitlement starts on the first day of their employment.
Paying FDV leave
Employers need to pay FDV leave at the employees’ full rate of pay. For casual workers this will be for the hours they were rostered to work during the period of leave.
Payment must be at the employee's full rate and include any overtime or penalty rates, incentive-based payments and bonuses.
Taking FDV leave
Any employee experiencing family or domestic violence may access this leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family or domestic violence. This might include making safety arrangements, attending court hearings, accessing police services, or attending appointments with counsellors, financial or legal professionals.
Leave can be taken as single or multiple days and the employer and employee can agree to take less than one day.
Notice and evidence
When an employee takes FDV leave they must inform the employer as soon as possible. It is possible for FDV leave to commence whilst an employee is on another type of leave, for example annual leave, in which case the FDV leave replaces the annual leave.
As an employer, you can request evidence to support the FDV leave request, such a statutory declaration, police, or court documents. If the employee does not provide the supporting evidence, they may deem them ineligible for FDV leave.
It goes without saying that employers must take reasonable steps to ensure that information about an employee is kept confidential.
As an employer, you need to be compliant with the changes and should prepare by updating systems, such as payroll, revise your policy and procedures manuals and communicate the changes with your employees.
If you require further information on meeting your obligations as an employer please contact us.
Confidential information, counselling and support for people impacted by domestic and family violence (including employees and employers) is available at the 1800 RESPECT website, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
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