Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave: What Australian 'Small Businesses Need to Know'.
Employers with 15 or more employees in Australia already provide paid family and domestic violence leave to their employees as of 1 February 2023. The change, legislated by the federal government, aims to offer greater support to the millions of individuals who experience family and domestic violence each year. For Small Business operators (less than 15 employees), this legislation will be effective from 1 August 2023.
Here's a breakdown of this new entitlement:
Commencement Date: Employers with 15 or more employees, 1 February 2023. For Small Business, 1 August 2023. The new paid leave will replace the existing entitlement of five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave under the National Employment Standards (NES). However, employees can still utilize the five days of unpaid leave until the paid leave entitlement takes effect.
Eligibility: All Australian employees covered by the Fair Work system, including part-time and casual workers, are entitled to this leave. Full-time and part-time employees will receive payment at their regular rate for the hours they would have worked if not on leave, while casual workers will be paid their full rate for the hours they were scheduled to work during the leave period.
Accessibility: Employees will be entitled to 10 days of paid family, and domestic violence leave each year. The Fair Work Ombudsman states that employees can access the full 10 days upfront, meaning the leave does not need to be accumulated like personal or annual leave.
What is the leave used for: Employees can access paid family and domestic violence leave when they must address the impact of family and domestic violence. This may include seeking police assistance, making safety arrangements for themselves or close relatives, attending court hearings, counselling sessions, or other medical, financial, or legal appointments. Employees should notify their employer as soon as possible regarding their need for leave; in some cases, this notification may occur after the leave has commenced.
Evidence: Employers can request evidence to verify the employee's inability to address these matters outside of work hours but must not use this evidence for any other purposes.
Leave Accumulation: The paid leave does not accumulate from year to year if unused. Instead, the 10-day entitlement will renew annually on the employee's work anniversary.
Record Keeping: Employers must keep records of leave balances and usage but pay slips should not mention family and domestic violence leave details, including balances and usage, to ensure employee safety and privacy.
By understanding and adhering to these new regulations, employers can provide crucial support to their employees experiencing family and domestic violence, fostering a safe and compassionate work environment. Call now for a complimentary 15-minute catch-up with HR Expert Kirst Jowsey 1300 620 100.