Australia rolls out family violence leave for all employees

Small organisations’ employees now have the access to the same rights as employees working for large or medium organisations.
By: | August 2, 2023

In a move aimed at protecting the rights and safety of employees working in small organisations in Australia, the government has implemented a new entitlement granting 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave.

The changes align small organisations’ employees with the same rights that have been available to at least seven million employees in large or medium organisations since 1 February 2023, including casual employees.

Tony Burke, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, emphasised the importance of treating violence as a universal issue that should not discriminate, and said, “No one should have to choose between their safety and their pay,” asserting that the introduction of paid family and domestic violence leave is a crucial workplace entitlement that will save lives.

Recognising the challenges faced by small organisations, the Australian government extended a six-month transition period to help them effectively adjust to this policy. This acknowledges that smaller organisations might have limited HR capacity compared to larger organisations in implementing such changes.

To support small organisations in implementing this new entitlement, the government has introduced the Small Business Assistance package, providing resources to help them navigate the process smoothly for their employees. Additionally, the government provided a range of support and guidance from the Fair Work Ombudsman, a government agency providing advice and information about the national workplace system, to help small organisations understand their obligations and administer the leave entitlement sensitively and lawfully.

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Furthermore, the government and Lifeline Australia, a non-profit that provides telephone crisis support service, have launched a podcast titled Small business, big impact: How to support employees experiencing family and domestic violence, which aims to educate employers on conversations about paid family and domestic violence leave and how they can best support their employees.