Employer-paid domestic violence leave is now available for employees (2023)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has taken to the airwaves to boast of his government's passage of legislation giving victims of domestic violence the right to up to 10 days of paid leave a year, replacing previous legislation that allowed employees to take five days unpaid leave to take vacation.

Domestic Violence

Family and domestic violence is a serious social problem across the country, and victims can face myriad difficulties - not the least of which is moving house, reorganizing a range of personal and financial matters, and of course, see psychological help.

It's a problem that our state, territory and federal governments have been trying to address for decades through a variety of initiatives such as:crimes of domestic violence.

The interventions are designed to help those caught in controlling and/or abusive relationships escape their abusers, punish the abusers, and deter those who—beyond the penalties—might consider engaging in such behavior.

Indeed, the prevalence of domestic violence in Australian communities is a problem that governments have a significant responsibility to address in order to ensure the safety of victims, deter potential offenders, hold perpetrators accountable and ultimately society as a whole to improve.

The new law

For this reason theFair Work Amendment Bill (Paid Leave for Family and Domestic Violence).was introduced into the Federal House of Representatives on July 22, 2002, passed by both houses of the Federal Parliament on October 27, 2022, received Royal Assent on November 9, 2022 and entered into force on February 1, 2023 – the same date as Convention 190 International Labor Organization — The Violence and Harassment Convention 2019 has come into force in Australia.

The bill, now an Act of Parliament, amends sections of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) relating to family leave entitlements and domestic violence.

Before the law came into force, Australian workers were entitled to up to five days of unpaid leave for family and domestic violence during every 12 months of employment.

Now workers are entitled to up to 10 days paid leave for family and domestic violence during every 12 months of employment.

Who is entitled to the holiday?

Leave is available to any permanent or casual employee of a non-small business entity - that is, a business with fewer than 15 employees - who experiences violent, threatening, or otherwise abusive behavior by a current or former intimate partner, or a close relative.

From August 1, 2023, the new wills law for small businesses will apply.

Who is a close relative?

A close relative is a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling of a current or ex-spouse or de factor partner or any other person who is considered to be related under Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

On what basis can vacation be taken?

Leave may be taken for any purpose necessary to deal with the effects of family and domestic violence, e .g .

How much is the holiday pay?

Holiday pay is the full compensation that the employee would have received if they had been at work, including all supplements, allowances, overtime pay and penalties.

Are the employees threatened with consequences for their vacation?

no It is unlawful for an employer to take adverse action against an employee for taking leave.

When does an employee have to report vacation to the employer?

An employee may notify his employer of his intention to take leave before the date on which it begins or as soon as practicable thereafter.

What are the requirements for proof?

An employer may require proof of eligibility to take leave, although the legislation does not specify what types of materials will normally suffice.

It can be speculated that a doctor's certificate or a letter from a counselor or assistant would suffice.

Does vacation fall during the year?

no An employee may take all annual leave from the first day of employment.

Can leave be carried over to subsequent years?

no The holiday is valid for 12 months, after which it expires. A new entitlement begins with each service anniversary.

Who pays for the vacation?

The holiday is paid in full by the employer.

The government does not pay for the holiday, reimburse the employer for the cost of the holiday, contribute to the payment of the holiday, make allowances or credit any deductions in favor of the employer.

How is vacation recorded?

It is unlawful for an employer to record the type of leave on payslips.

They can only be recorded in such a way that they are only accessible to the employer and his agents.

Do employers have other obligations?

It is also unlawful for an employer to use the information provided by the employee as proof of vacation taking in any way other than to convince the employer of the legitimacy of the vacation request, unless:

  • the employee agrees to the transfer,
  • the employer is required by law to disclose, or
  • disclosure is necessary to protect the life, health or safety of the employee or any other person.

What happens if an employer violates these obligations?

An employer who violates the above requirements is subject to a civil penalty under Part 4-1 of the Fair Work Act of up to 60 penalty units.

ACommonwealth-Strafeinheitis currently $222, meaning the maximum penalty is $13,320 in addition to any other penalties the employer may be ordered to pay for the violation.

In short

So the rules can be summarized as follows:

  • All permanent and temporary employees in companies with 15 or more employees (from August 1, 2023 for all companies) are entitled to holiday in the event of domestic and family violence.
  • Holiday is 10 days per 12 working months,
  • The entire annual leave can be taken from the first day of employment,
  • Holiday pay is the full compensation that the employee would have received if they had been at work, including all allowances, allowances, overtime pay and penalties.
  • Employees may notify the employer of taking leave before taking it or as soon as possible thereafter,
  • Employers may not discriminate against employees for taking vacation time,
  • Employees may be asked to provide evidence that they are entitled to leave,
  • Holidays are not carried over to subsequent years
  • Employers must pay for the entire holiday (there is no state contribution or subsidy),
  • Employers face penalties for including leave type on payslips,
  • Employers also face penalties for disclosing that leave has been taken, except in certain circumstances.

While such rules are important in helping family and household victims move on in their lives, the fact that the entire cost is borne by business owners rather than being paid for, or at least supported by, government funds could have serious repercussions for many Businesses already in dire financial straits due to COVID-19 lockdowns and operating restrictions, rising interest rates and a sluggish economy.

Get your priorities right

Maybe rather than getting tangledin multi-billion dollar deals to buy discontinued submarinesorDeceiving taxpayers in the hundreds of millions of dollars by giving meritless grants to gain political advantage, governments should focus on allocating resources to address key social issues such as domestic violence, housing, social security, health and general wealth inequality.

And while our "grassroots" PM has the audacity to boast of his concerns about domestic violence, pro-activism and generosity, perhaps he should consider spending hard-earned taxpayer money where it's needed rather than taking the financial burden of his “Offloading goodwill” onto already struggling business owners.

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