Domestic or family violence leave – the Government’s policy explained

Last updated: 14 Mar 2018

This page is: current

Bargaining Policy Q&As

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How is domestic or family violence leave treated under the Workplace Bargaining Policy 2018 (the 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, while ensuring employees are afforded privacy and sensitivity when receiving this support.

A small number of agency enterprise agreements contain domestic or family violence leave provisions. The policy does not require agencies to remove those existing provisions. Where there are no specific provisions in an enterprise agreement, agencies have the ability to support affected employees using existing provisions. Agencies can make reference in new enterprise agreements to existing support, including the availability of personal or miscellaneous leave, without creating new entitlements.

What can agencies do to support employees experiencing domestic or family violence?

Commonwealth agencies 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; and
  • one-on-one advice through designated contact officers.

Agencies remain committed to providing support to employees affected by domestic and family violence through the use of existing arrangements. Such support may include access to personal/carer’s leave entitlements which, in most agencies, are greater than the minimum 10 days required to be provided under the National Employment Standards. Agreements also provide paid and/or unpaid miscellaneous or discretionary leave, which is not capped. Agencies may also provide affected employees with access to flexible working arrangements. These leave provisions and flexible working arrangements allow agencies to provide appropriate support and assistance that is responsive to individual circumstances. To maintain this flexible and discretionary approach, agencies will not create a new, prescriptive leave type.

What about an employee’s privacy?

Protecting the privacy of individual employees experiencing family or domestic violence is of utmost importance. One of the reasons the creation of a specific leave type is not supported is that other employees could potentially identify affected staff. Agencies need to ensure the highly personal circumstances of employees are protected.