New Paid DV Leave Arrives for SMB Employees starts 1 August
Paid domestic violence leave entitlements for small business employees
Small businesses across Australia are facing a new challenge as they prepare for the implementation of paid domestic violence leave entitlements starting 1 August 2023.
This new policy grants employees up to ten paid days off during a twelve-month period to address family and domestic violence issues.
Key points about the new entitlement
- From 1 August, small businesses employees will have the right to avail themselves of ten days of paid domestic or family violence leave within a twelve-month period
- This leave will be compensated at the employee's regular pay rate, based on the hours they would have worked if they were not on leave
- The new paid DV leave entitlement builds upon the previous provision of five days of unpaid leave as outlined in the National Employment Standards.
Which businesses are covered?
Small businesses, defined as those with fewer than 15 employees, will be subject to this new entitlement. Larger businesses have already offered this benefit to their employees since February of this year.
Which employees are covered?
The DV paid leave allowance applies to all employees operating under the Fair Work system, including part-time and casual workers.
Paid domestic violence leave can be taken by employees when they need to address the impact of family and domestic violence, and it is not feasible for them to handle these matters outside their work hours. This may include making safety arrangements for themselves or close relatives, attending court hearings, accessing police services, attending counselling sessions, or meeting with medical, financial or legal professionals.
The leave is applicable if an employee is subject to coercion, control, harm or fear instigated by a close relative, current or former intimate partner or a member of their household who acts in a violent, threatening or abusive manner.
When can employees take paid family and domestic violence leave?
- Employees are not required to accumulate or accrue this leave
- All ten days are available to them from their first day of employment
- The ten-day leave allowance will renew on their work anniversary.
For existing employees when the entitlement takes effect, they can access the full ten days on the relevant start date, and the leave will renew on the anniversary of their employment commencement, not on the anniversary of the start date of the entitlement.
How should employees inform employers?
- Employees should inform their employers about their intention to take paid domestic violence leave as soon as practicable, even if this happens after they have already begun taking their leave
- Employers can request evidence from the employee to verify that the leave is being used to address family or domestic violence issues, as described above.
Employers can only use this information to ensure the employee's entitlement to family and domestic violence leave, except for specific situations where the employee consents to the employer sharing the information, when the employer is legally obligated to share the information, or when sharing the information is essential to protect the life, health, or safety of the employee or another person. Importantly, information disclosed to the employer cannot be used against the employee in any adverse action.
Are workers still entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave?
Starting from 1 August 2023, the new DV entitlement will replace the previous five-day unpaid leave allowance. However, until that date, small business employees can still claim the existing unpaid leave entitlement.
How is DV paid leave noted on payslips?
- To ensure the employee's safety and privacy, there are specific rules about how employers should record the use of paid family and domestic violence leave
- It should not be mentioned as such on the payslip and should be recorded as ordinary hours worked or labeled as an allowance, bonus or overtime payment
- If an employee requests it, the leave can be listed as another kind of leave, such as paid annual leave.
Support for small businesses during the transition
The Fair Work Ombudsman has prepared a comprehensive guide to help small businesses navigate the new entitlements. Businesses can access this guide for further assistance and understanding.
As the implementation date nears, small businesses need to ensure they are ready to comply with the new paid domestic violence leave entitlements and provide much-needed support to employees facing family and domestic violence challenges.
For help with any of these changes, contact the team at Flor-Hanly in Mackay on 07 4963 4800.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, or domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit the 1800 Respect website.
For information about local services, download the free Daisy App.
Accessible information and support is available via the free Sunny App which has been developed for and by women with disability.
For Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1800 019 123.
For legal information, visit the Family Violence Law Help website.
In an emergency, call 000.