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Using flexibility to support victim-survivors

Key takeaways 

  1. Flexible work options are another way you can support employees experiencing family and domestic violence.
  2. Workplace flexibility is often mutually beneficial, supporting employees to remain engaged.
  3. Consider opportunities for flexibility in your workplace.

How can employers use flexibility to support victim-survivors?

In addition to providing family and domestic violence leave, workplace flexibility can play an important and significant role in supporting employees who are experiencing family and domestic violence.  

This can be mutually beneficial for both the employer and employee.  

It can assist in keeping employees experiencing family and domestic violence engaged and connected in meaningful employment, as well as providing a safe space and environment where employees may feel confident and empowered to talk about their experience of family and domestic violence. 

To support continuity of employment, you can explore with your employee how their employment arrangements may be adjusted or adapted to suit their needs and explore opportunities for flexible work, taking into account an employee’s individual circumstances. 

This may include: 

  • Changing an employee’s start and finish times.

  • Offering split shifts or job sharing arrangements.

  • Offering modified duties, as agreed with the employee.

  • Considering alternative locations of work (which may be a separate to an employee’s home).

  • Providing entitlements above the National Employment Standards, including additional leave if the employee has exhausted such entitlements. 

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and it is important that flexibility and additional support is considered on a case-by-case basis. 

There are benefits for the employee and your business in keeping the employee engaged with work through these types of flexible arrangements. Arrangements can be short-term or longer-term in nature, depending on what support the employee requires, and what works for the business.  

Flexible working arrangements under the National Employment Standards  

It is important to note that employees who have completed at least 12 months of continuous service can request a formal flexible working arrangement under the National Employment Standards (NES) if they are experiencing family and domestic violence or if they are providing care or support to a member of their immediate family or household who is experiencing family and domestic violence. 

The Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of tools and resources to help people understand more about formal requests for flexible working arrangements.    

For further advice on family and domestic violence see 1800RESPECT or call 1800 737 732.

For further advice about your workplace rights or information about how to deal with workplace disputes, refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman or call 13 13 94.