The Australian government recently passed an amendment bill to provide employees with 10 days of employer-paid family and domestic violence leave. The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2022 was introduced on 28 July 2022, by the Australian Labor Party following the May 2022 federal election.

Update: On 27 October 2022, the Australian House of Representatives passed the Fair Work Amendment Bill. The leave will be available from 1 February 2023, for employees working in businesses with at least 15 employees and from 1 August 2023, for employees working in smaller businesses with less than 15 employees.

Key details

Currently, Australian legislation allows employees who have suffered family and domestic violence to take up to five days of unpaid leave to take the necessary actions such as arranging for their safety or attending court hearings, medical, counseling or legal appointments.

If the Bill passes, full-time, part-time, and casual employees will be entitled to 10 days of employer-paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12-month period.

The current legislation defines family and domestic violence as violent or threatening economic or emotionally abusive behavior by a close relative which includes a member of the employee’s immediate family (spouse, partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling), or a person related according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship roles.

The Bill extends such conduct to current or former intimate partners of an employee or a member of an employee’s household.

Under the Bill, the employee will still be required to give advance notice to their employer before taking such leave and provide evidence of existing family and domestic violence that may include documents issued by the police services, the court, family services or a statutory declaration.

Next steps

Employers should review their internal policies and prepare for compliance. It is still unclear if the Bill will pass. The Lockton Global People Solutions Compliance team will update this alert once more details are released.