Domestic and Family Violence Leave

Aug 1, 2023

Family in a sunset

It is well-known that domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness and poverty for women and children and exposes children to serious psychological and emotional harm.

One of the important ways to maximise the safety and protection of those at risk and minimise disruption of their lives is to ensure they are not at risk of losing their employment through having to take time away from their work to do essential tasks such as finding housing, attending appointments, organising child-care etc.

Since 2016, workers employed in the Queensland sector (including casual workers) have had access to 10 days of paid domestic and family violence leave. At that time, it also became unlawful for an employer to fail to re-engage a casual employee because they had taken domestic and family violence leave.

Finally, these benefits and support are now available to the majority of workers, who fall under the national system of the Fair Work legislation, and these changes apply not just to full-time workers but also to part-time and casual workers.

Since 1 February 2023 workers of “non-small business employers” (those with 15 or more employees) are able to access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave – previously there was an entitlement to only 5 days’ unpaid leave.

From 1 August 2023 workers of ”small businesses employers” (those with fewer than 15 employees) can access this – again, previously only 5 days’ unpaid leave was available.

These are important changes to assist victims of domestic violence to remain in the workforce & hopefully, for some at least, short-circuit the impact of poverty and homelessness.

These changes may also help with awareness of employers and start to open more conversations.

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