As an employer, your role is not one of counsellor. If one of your employees is needing support during this time, it’s important to refer them to support services they need.
Employers have a duty to provide employees with a safe workplace (as far as is reasonably practicable). This has not changed because of the introduction of paid FDV leave. It’s also important to emphasise that the ‘workplace’ can also include where an employee is working from.
Only employees who are experiencing family and domestic violence are entitled to take FDV leave. If you’re dealing with a situation where two employees are both claiming family and domestic violence in your workplace, you may need to seek legal advice.
Importantly, it is not your job to decide whether one or both are a victim-survivor.
There may also be circumstances where an individual is simultaneously a victim-survivor in one relationship and a perpetrator in another.
In most states in Australia, there is no requirement on an employer to report family and domestic violence, with the exception of the Northern Territory (which imposes obligations on adults to report knowledge of family and domestic violence). The laws surrounding such reporting obligations differ from state to state.
Please note, however, in certain circumstances, there are legal obligations to report acts or threats of family violence to external bodies where it is necessary to protect the life, health or safety of the employee or another person(such as the safety of a child).
As noted above, employers can disclose family and domestic violence information (i.e. to the police) if it is necessary to protect the life, health or safety of the employee or another person. If, for example, the perpetrator attended the workplace and was threatening harm, it would be appropriate to contact police to protect the health and safety of those at the workplace.