Domestic or family violence leave – Government’s policy explained

Last updated: 30 Nov 2016

This page is: current

Bargaining policy Q&A

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How is domestic or family violence leave treated under the Workplace Bargaining Policy?

The Australian Government is committed to supporting employees who are affected by family and domestic violence. This commitment includes access to leave and other support, and ensuring employees are afforded privacy and sensitivity when receiving this support.

The Bargaining Policy does not require agencies to remove existing provisions which provide domestic or family violence leave. However, only a small number of agencies reference domestic or family violence in their enterprise agreement. Where references do not exist, agencies have the ability to support employee using existing provisions.

What are agencies doing to support employees experiencing domestic or family violence?

Commonwealth agencies are committed to supporting employees experiencing domestic or family violence. Agencies already provide a wide range of measures to assist employees, including:

  • Access to personal/carer's leave and miscellaneous leave, as required
  • Access to counselling and support services
  • Personal safety assistance at workplaces
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • One-on-one advice through designated contact officers

These are useful, practical support initiatives for employees.

Are agencies reducing support to staff affect by domestic and family violence?

No. Claims of a reduction in support for employees affected by domestic and family violence are inaccurate, dishonest and falsely create fear amongst employees on this highly sensitive issue.

What about agencies without domestic or family violence leave?

Agencies remain committed to providing useful and practical support to employees experiencing domestic or family violence through existing arrangements. This includes personal/carer's leave entitlements which are greater than the minimum requirement of 10 days under National Employment Standards. Agreements also include paid and unpaid miscellaneous leave, which is not capped.

Existing leave provisions and access to flexible working arrangements more than adequately facilitate employees in need of support and assistance. It is not necessary for agencies to create a new leave type given the availability of leave.

What about an employee's privacy?

Protecting the privacy of individual employees experiencing family or domestic violence is of utmost importance. By establishing a specific domestic or family violence leave type, other employees can potentially identify affected staff within HR systems. Agencies need to ensure the highly personal circumstances of employees are protected.