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What you need to do to meet your family and domestic violence leave obligations

There are things you must do to meet your obligations as a small business employer.

There are also things that are good to do to take this to the next level to make sure you are providing the people that work for you with a safe and supportive workplace. This is best practice. 

Must do 

Policies and procedures 

  • Update any existing workplace policies and procedures to reflect the leave entitlement.
  • Make sure the way you pay your employees (e.g. your payroll system) is set up to provide employees who access paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave up to 10 days of leave per year, at their full rate of pay. 
  • Ensure you keep accurate records of any family and domestic violence disclosures, as these can be requested as evidence. 

Confidentiality and privacy 

  • Have practices in place that maintain your employee’s confidentiality.
  • Maintain a separate, confidential record of an employee’s FDV leave balances, including leave taken. 
  • Do not record the leave on pay slips as FDV leave. 
  • Store all information securely and confidentially, including notices of leave, evidence and other documentation. 

Good to do 

Understand and build awareness  

  • Let all your employees know about your FDV leave policy and any other relevant policies and procedures. 
  • Attend training about family and domestic violence, such as that provided by 1800RESPECT, which you can find on their Training and professional development page.
  • Be aware of the signs of family and domestic violence. 
  • Provide your employees with resources and training about family and domestic violence. 
  • Provide your employees with training about family and domestic violence. 

Policies and procedures 

Talk to and share supports with employees experiencing family and domestic violence 

  • Learn how to talk to someone experiencing family and domestic violence in the Fair Work Ombudsman's Difficult conversations in the workplace course.  You can find more information on the Tips for talking to your employee page. 
  • Know, where it is safe to do so, how to support employees who are perpetrators to attend court and behaviour change programs. 
  • Talk to employees experiencing FDV about what supports would help them to feel safe at work, such as changes to hours and location.  
  • Let employees experiencing family and domestic violence know about supports that are available to them and offer resources about these supports.  
  • Let employees experiencing family and domestic violence know about referral pathways they can use and offer resources about these referral pathways. 
  • Remind your employees that anything they share with you will remain confidential – unless there is a genuine risk to safety. 
  • Get support for yourself. You can find more information on the Where can I access support for my business? page.  

When supporting employees experiencing family and domestic violence 

Support their safety.

This can include:  

  • offering flexibility in workplace arrangements (such as changes to working hours or locations), for further information see the Fair Work Ombudsman's Flexible working arrangements page 
  • providing or assisting with access to supports 
  • developing a workplace safety plan with them 
  • considering your duty to manage work health and safety risks in the workplace (see Safe Work Australia guidance)
  • clarify which communications channels the employee would prefer to use while on leave, noting that they may have limited options if they feel unsafe. 

Protect their confidentiality.

Anything your employee tells you should be treated as confidential, and you can only disclose information: 

  • with your employee’s consent 
  • where required by law 
  • where it is required to protect the life, health and safety of your employee or others.  

When supporting other staff 

A coworker may be the first person that an employee tells of their experiences of family and domestic violence in a work setting.  

An employee may not tell you if a coworker discloses family and domestic violence so you may not know.  

It is important that you provide all your employees with the knowledge and resources they need to be able to respond if they receive a disclosure of family and domestic violence. That means: 

  • providing all staff with information and training on how to respond to a disclosure 
  • making sure they understand their responsibilities, including the need for confidentiality 
  • making them aware of support services they can share or use themselves.  

About perpetrators of family and domestic violence 

Perpetrators of family and domestic violence are not entitled to access paid FDV leave for the purpose of dealing with matters arising from perpetration. However, if the employee is experiencing family and domestic violence, they can access FDV leave to deal with the impacts of the family and domestic violence.  

You can consider other types of leave that the employee may be entitled to, such as personal or annual leave so that they can attend things like court and behaviour change programs and other treatment.  

You must maintain their confidentiality.  

Providing support avenues to perpetrators is not a legal requirement, but it is considered best practice for employee support and workplace safety.  

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.