National Employment Standards – Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Starting from 1 February 2023, the National Employment Standards (NES) will be updated to provide enhanced protection and support to employees affected by family and domestic violence.

The NES currently provides an employee (full-time, part-time or casual) with an entitlement to five (5) days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave.

Under the NES, family and domestic violence means violent, threatening, or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative, a current or former intimate partner, or a member of their household that seeks to coerce or control the employee and causes them harm or fear.

Under the NES, a close relative is an employee's spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling; or, a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of an employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner; or, a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

In 2023, the NES Entitlement Will Change:

The change will result in the five (5) days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave becoming ten (10) days of paid family and domestic violence leave.

The paid leave component of the family and domestic violence leave will be available from 1 February 2023, for employees of non-small business employers (a non–small business employer is considered to be an employer with fifteen (15) or more employees); or from 1 August 2023, for employees of small business employers (a small business employer is considered to be an employer with less than fifteen (15) employees).

Key Points:

All full-time, part-time, and all casual employees will be able to access ten (10) days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a twelve (12) month period.

The ten (10) days of paid family and domestic violence leave will not be pro-rated for part-time or casual employees.

The full ten (10) day leave entitlement will be available upfront. It does not accrue progressively.

Unused family and domestic violence leave does not accumulate from year to year if it’s not used.

For employees of a small business employer, employees will continue to be entitled to five (5) days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave until they can access the new paid entitlement on 1 August 2023.

Entitlement Starts on the Anniversary Date:

The ten (10) days of paid family and domestic violence leave renews every year on each employee's date of their anniversary of starting work with the employer.

Employees who start on, or after the date, that the ten (10) days of paid family and domestic violence leave becomes available can access the full ten (10) days from their first day.

Employees who are already employed when the ten (10) days of paid family and domestic violence leave starts in their workplace can access the full ten (10) days on the relevant start date (either 1 February 2023 or 1 August 2023). The leave then renews on the anniversary of when they started working for that employer (not on the anniversary of the relevant start date).

Taking Family & Domestic Violence Leave:

Full–time, part-time and casual employees can take paid family and domestic violence leave if they need to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence and it’s impractical for them to do so outside their ordinary hours of work. This could include, for example, the employee:-

  • Making arrangements for their safety, or the safety of a close relative (including relocation)
  • Attending court hearings.
  • Accessing police services.
  • Attending counselling.
  • Attending appointments with medical, financial, or legal professionals.

Payment for leave:

Full-time and part-time employees can take paid family and domestic violence leave at their full pay rate for the hours they would have worked if they weren't on leave.

Casual employees will be paid at their full pay rate for the hours they were rostered to work in the period they took leave.

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