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From 1 February 2023, most businesses employees will be entitled to 10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave (FDV leave) as this has been inserted into the National Employment Standards. Small businesses have an extra 6 months to prepare.

FDL leave is a paid entitlement different to annual and sick leave.

What does this mean for employers?

Employees, full time, part time and casuals, will be entitled to FDV leave from 1 February 2023 in relation to many situations involving domestic violence such as:

  • making arrangements for their safety or safety of a close relative (including relocation)
  • attending court hearings
  • accessing police services
  • accessing other emergency services
  • attending FDV-related appointments – such as with lawyers or financial advisors

Notice and evidence requirements

Employees are required to give notice that they are taking FDV leave as soon as practicable and advise of the period, or expected period, of the leave. Employers can require employees to provide evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that the employee took the FDV leave to deal with the impact of FDV. This evidence could include:

  • documents issued by the police services;
  • documents issued by a court;
  • family violence support service documents; or
  • a statutory declaration.

What can businesses do to prepare?

Creating a comprehensive FDV leave policy will allow managers and business owners accurately assess and request evidence and what type of evidence (if any) is reasonable to request once the FDV leave is available.

Train managers and supervisors on how to respond to employees asking for confidentiality, how to deal with performance managing someone experiencing FDV, and what support is available.

It is important to note that managing an employee’s privacy is critical when granting FDL Leave. One measure employers can take is to use a generic leave label so that the paid FDV leave is not disclosed to any other employee or possibly the perpetrator of the FDV.

Where there are working from home arrangements in place, employers must be aware that this could mean the employee is in a violent or threatening environment while at work. If possible, it may be appropriate to offer that the employee attend the office rather than continuing to work from home.

Lastly, BetterHR suggests that all employers review their payroll processes to ensure the correct amounts are paid for this leave.

What is Family and domestic Violence?

Family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative that:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee
  • causes them harm or fear.

A close relative is:

  • an employee’s:
    • spouse or former spouse
    • de facto partner or former de facto partner
    • child
    • parent
    • grandparent
    • grandchild
    • sibling
  • an employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or
  • a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

Please contact the BetterHR Advice team, if you have any concerns or need assistance with understanding the new paid FDV leave entitlements.

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