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Small businesses to prepare for new family and domestic violence leave for employees

A recent change to the Fair Work Act provides 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave to employees. Small businesses will need to prepare to follow the new laws from 1 August 2023.

Small business owners have a few months to prepare for the changes and to understand what they must do to adhere to the new leave entitlements. Previous amendments to the act in 2018 entitled all employees, including full-time, part-time and casual employees to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave. The new changes provide all employees with 10 days of paid leave per year, in addition to any existing leave entitlements.

The new laws are important changes to support those experiencing family and domestic violence to manage issues that cannot practically be done during work hours, for example court hearings, legal appointments or counselling. We recognise that organising and managing this leave may place additional strain on small business owners. The best way to reduce potential stress around the new regulations is to be informed and prepared so that you can support your employees when they need to access this leave.

Some key information about your responsibilities include:

  • Employees must be paid the same amount they would have earned if they were at work
  • Employers are responsible for paying for this leave
  • Employers must keep a record of the leave, but not mention the leave type on payslips, for example, describing it as ‘other leave’
  • Employers can ask for evidence of why the leave is required (e.g. appointment confirmation, written letter) but must not use this information for other purposes.

For more information about the new leave entitlements, including practical guides for employers, visit the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman.

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