In the last issue of The Manual, we foreshadowed that paid family and domestic violence leave for all employees was likely on the horizon (see here). In its first week of parliament, the Labor government introduced legislation giving all employees an entitlement to paid family and domestic violence leave, delivering on its election promise.
Are all employees entitled to it?
The Bill entitles full-time, part-time, and casual employees to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave (yes – casuals too!) each year. The 10 days are provided in full rather than accrue and resets each year. The leave does not accumulate year-to-year.
The leave will be paid at an employee’s full rate of pay, not just their base rate, so will include incentive-based payments and bonuses, loadings, monetary allowances, overtime, and penalty rates.
When willthe changes come into effect?
If the Bill passes and it will, employees will be able to access their paid family and domestic leave from as early as 1 February 2023 and 1 August 2023 for small businesses.
Why are these changes so important?
IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING
When introducing the Bill, Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke acknowledged the challenges people, mainly women, face in experiencing family and domestic violence, where “many can't leave violent situations without risking joblessness, financial stress homelessness and poverty, leaving workers having to choose between their safety and their livelihood”.
Burke recognised that "getting out shouldn't mean losing pay", highlighting the importance of a 10-day paid entitlement.
Australia has attempted to introduce paid family and domestic violence leave several times over the past 15 years. For the first time, it seems likely that we’ll get there (finally).
What does this mean for employers?
Employers should take steps to amend its family and domestic violence leave policy to reflect the incoming changes. Employers that don’t already have a family and domestic violence leave policy in place should implement a meaningful policy as soon as possible to ensure its employees feel supported by the business.