Nearly half of the people who experience domestic and family violence have stated that the violence has tremendously affected their ability to continue to perform at work. For many, domestic and family violence is not something they can escape easily from within their minds at work. It is consistently at the top of their mind and consumes their ability to focus on their job. A ground breaking announcement has been made stating that people will be now entitled to paid family and domestic violence leave, whereas before, it was unpaid leave.

The Overview

The 2011 National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey found that nearly half (48%) of people who reported experiencing domestic and family violence said the violence had affected their ability to get to work. The main impact of violence was on work performance – 16% of victims and survivors reported being distracted, tired, or unwell, and 10% needed to take time off work. Further, women who experience domestic and family violence are also more likely to have lower personal incomes, a disrupted work history, often have to change jobs at short notice, and are very often employed in casual or part-time work.

Domestic and family violence (DFV) is a major social and economic issue in Australia, affecting individuals, families, and communities in various ways. One of the significant impacts of DFV is on employment and work. Research shows that DFV can profoundly affect an individual’s ability to maintain or secure employment, leading to reduced income and financial stability.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in six women and one in 16 men have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner. In many cases, DFV can result in employees taking time off work, reducing work hours, or leaving employment altogether. The resulting loss of income and employment can exacerbate financial stress and increase the likelihood of continued victimization.

DFV can also impact an individual’s ability to concentrate and perform well at work, leading to decreased productivity, performance, and job satisfaction. The traumatic effects of DFV can also result in an increased risk of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can further impact work performance and increase the likelihood of absenteeism.

The impact of DFV on employment can also have a broader economic impact, affecting the Australian economy as a whole. Research has estimated that the cost of DFV to the Australian economy is over $21 billion per year, considering the direct and indirect costs associated with DFV, including health care, justice, and lost productivity.

Employers have a critical role in addressing DFV and its impact on the workplace. Many employers in Australia have implemented DFV policies and support programs, such as flexible work arrangements, paid leave, and counselling services, to assist employees affected by DFV. These initiatives can help employees maintain or secure employment and reduce the economic impact of DFV.

In conclusion, DFV significantly impacts employment and work in Australia. It affects the ability of individuals to maintain or secure employment, leading to reduced income and financial stability, and has broader economic impacts. Employers have an important role in addressing DFV and its impact on the workplace through the implementation of supportive policies and programs.

When does the paid domestic violence leave come into force?

From 1 February 2023, all non-small business employees are entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in 12 months replacing the previous 5 days of unpaid leave under the National Employment Standards (NES). As of 1 August 2023, employees in small businesses will also be entitled to this benefit.

Does the paid domestic violence accumulate?

No, unfortunately this leave does not accumulate. However, It renews on each work anniversary in which the employer commenced working in the business.

What is the payment for domestic violence leave?

The rate of payment is the total pay rate the employee would have worked if they were not on leave. This includes incentives/ bonuses which the employee would have earned in the period the leave was taken.

Furthermore, paid domestic violence leave will not appear on payslips – although, for their discretion the employer would need to keep a record.

What notice/ evidence is required to be produced to access paid domestic leave?

To access leave, an employee must notify the employer as soon as possible – even after the leave has been accessed. The information provided by an employee cannot be used for purposes other than where the employee consents, it is required by law, or to protect the life, health and safety of the employee or another person.

The paid family and domestic violence leave provides relief for employees affected by violence during their employment. It reduces stress and may allow employees time to access accommodation, help, or other possible avenues to deal with family and domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects millions of individuals and communities Australia-wide. It is crucial that effective measures are put in place to protect victims. Now experiencing family and domestic violence no longer has to impact your employment. If you need further advice from our expert family law team, please contact us at 1300 749 709 to see how our experienced team can assist you.