Domestic Violence Leave:
What does it mean for employers?
From 1 April 2019 all employees will be entitled to 10 days domestic violence leave every year. While this is a positive step forward for supporting victims of domestic violence, it may have a significant impact on your business so it’s crucial to understand what the new legislation means and how to implement it successfully.
The legislation means that:
- Each employee is entitled to 10 days domestic violence leave per year, if they or a child they care for is a victim of domestic violence
- This leave does not carry over each year (unlike annual leave), and so each employee has a maximum of 10 days each year regardless of whether they have taken domestic violence leave before
- Domestic violence leave that has not been taken does not need to be paid out on termination of employment
- Like sick leave or bereavement leave, the entitlement is available only after 6 months continuous service
- The employee must inform you of their intention to take domestic violence leave as early as possible before they are due to start work, or as soon as practical after this
- The leave should be paid out as either the relevant daily pay or average daily pay (like sick leave)
- An employer may ask that the employee provide proof of domestic violence to be entitled to the payment
So what steps should you take to put this into practice in your organisation?
We recommend you:
- Update your Employment Agreement or Employee Handbook to include a clause on domestic violence leave
- Talk to your payroll provider to make sure they have set it up in their system, and ensure your payroll administrator is aware of the information they need to process this correctly
- Develop a clear policy that covers requests for domestic violence leave and the process and support available to any employee who requests it. This information will be very sensitive so you must consider the privacy aspect of these requests very carefully when developing a policy
- Educate you leadership team on handling requests, how to be sensitive and supportive to the employee, and how and when to request proof of domestic violence
- Consider what additional support you may be able to offer employees who request this type of leave, through counselling, EAP support or referrals to support agencies
Domestic violence can happen to team members from all levels of your organisation and have a major impact on their ability to perform their role. Anyone who is not safe at home will struggle to fulfill the requirements of their role, and asking for help in this situation can be challenging. By offering a supportive, caring environment where your team feel OK to ask for help, you can make a significant difference to their lives.
Positive People has 23 years’ experience helping organisations develop policies which align with legislation and support their teams. If you need help to implement a policy on domestic violence leave, please contact us today.