1 August 2018

From 1 August 2018, modern awards will be varied to give employees access to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.


The clause detailing the entitlement to Family and Domestic Violence leave defines family and domestic violence as “violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a family member of an employee that seeks to coerce or control the employee and that causes them harm or to be fearful”.

 Family members are defined as:

  • a spouse, de facto partner child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee; or
  • a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a spouse or de facto partner of the employee; or
  • a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

The definition includes a former spouse or a former de facto partner.


This entitlement applies to all employees (including casuals) who are covered by an industry or occupation based award.


Employees are entitled to 5 days’ unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence.  The leave is available:

  • in full at the start of each 12 month period
  • does not accumulate from year to year.
  • Available in full to part-time and casual employees (not pro-rated)

An employee can take less than a whole day’s leave by agreement with the employer.

The employer and employee may agree that the employee may take more than 5 days’unpaid leave to deal with family and domestic violence.

Purpose of Leave

The leave can be taken by employees to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence. This includes (but isn’t limited to) taking time to:

  • make arrangements for their safety, or the safety of a family member
  • attend court hearings
  • access police services.

Notice requirements

The notice requirements are similar to personal leave requests

What employers should do

  • Educate your employees on the family and domestic violence and the impact it has on personal lives and in the workplace.
  • Communicate this new leave entitlement to employees, to ensure they are aware of it. Given the sensitivity around this issue, employers must be careful in the way that they communicate information to their employees
  • Develop processes to manage the way in which this entitlement will be granted. In doing this care must be taken to ensure that the process will maintain confidentiality and the employee’s privacy will be protected.
  • Where appropriate, encourage employees to make use of your Employee Assistance Program and other assistance that may be available e.g. www.1800respect.org.au

More Information

You can find more information about domestic and family violence leave and who it applies to at fairwork.gov.au