Paid family and domestic violence leave is changing: what you need to know

March 20, 2023

The Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 amends the Fair Work Act 2009.

In 2023, employees working in both small and large businesses will be entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave, an increase from five days. The Bill also proposes expansion of definitions and eligibility criteria, which will be explained in more detail below. 

The changes are put into place throughout the year, depending on the size of your business. Our Melbourne bookkeepers are breaking down the new rules and explaining what it means for your business. 

Brief timeline of the Bill

July 2022

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government introduces the Fair Work Amendment to the House of Representatives.

September 2022

The Bill is introduced to the Senate.

October 2022

The Bill passes both Houses.

February 2023

Changes roll out for big businesses from 1st February 2023.

August 2023

Changes will roll out for small businesses from 1st August 2023.

Overview of paid family and domestic violence leave 

What changes should we expect since the bill was passed?

The three major changes are:

  1. The previous entitlement of five days (introduced by the previous Government in 2018) has been increased to 10 days of paid leave
  2. Eligibility criteria has become broader; the scope of individuals who qualify as “family” under the term “family and domestic violence” has been expanded
  3. The Bill has been expanded to include even more examples of undertakings, activities, and actions that may be carried out during periods of family and domestic violence leave (that is to say, when an individual can use this type of leave rather than personal leave)

Full-time and part-time employees can take this leave at their full pay rate. Casual employees may do so, too, for the hours they were rostered to work for.

What is the correlation between domestic violence at home and performance in the workplace?

Domestic violence is a deeply sensitive and serious issue that, by definition, typically occurs within the home.

Extending beyond physical violence, domestic violence includes actions designed to control, abuse, shame, threaten, or intimidate a person or people within a household.

DV can come in many forms, including emotional, sexual, verbal, physical, psychological, and financial. 

The effects of DV – no matter the kind – can extend beyond the home and negatively impact an individual’s ability to function effectively in their workplace.

These effects may be physical, emotional, or otherwise, and can have severe repercussions for individuals at work.

This may include:

  • An individual’s ability to get to their workplace
  • Their performance, concentration, and output
  • Feelings of fatigue, exhaustion, depression, and stress
  • Physical injuries that cause pain and discomfort
  • Performance issues that may negatively impact future employment 

Additionally, the impact of domestic violence may require an individual to take time off, whether it be for finding secure accommodation, attending court hearings, or meeting other requirements related to an incident.

What employers need to know about the changes 

1) When do these changes take place?

Changes are rolling out during 2023. The date in which changes commence depends on the size of your business:

  • For large businesses, these changes commenced on 1st February 2023
  • For small businesses, these changes will commence on 1st August 2023

Note: a ‘small business’ is defined as one with less than 15 employees.

A large business is defined as a business employing 15 or more people. Therefore if your business qualifies as a ‘large’ business, you must ensure that these changes have been implemented as of 1st February.

Smaller businesses have a few more months to prepare for the changes.

How are days accrued?

Unlike annual leave, paid domestic violence leave days are not accrued over time.

Depending on the size of your business, employees are able to access 10 days of domestic violence leave from the day that the changes commence (either 1st February or 1st August 2023).

After the initial roll-out, the 10-day entitlement resets on the same date on which the employee started with the business.

Here’s an example to break down how the days are allocated and when they reset

Sarah started working for a small business (less than 15 employees) on 5th March, 2021.

On 1st August, 2023 (the date in which small businesses must enact these changes), she will be granted 10 days of paid domestic violence leave.

This 10-day allowance will reset on her work anniversary – 5th March, 2024. From this date forward, the allowance will reset every year on the date on which her employment started.

Unlike annual leave, paid family and domestic violence leave does not rollover; it will reset each year.

Do you have any questions about the new leave?

If you have any questions about the changes to paid family and domestic violence leave, get in touch with Maximum Business Solutions today. Our bookkeepers in Melbourne are here to help make sure this transition is as easy as possible for you, your business, and your employees.

If you need help, speak with someone today: call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) anytime.