February 1, 2023

Are you across the new Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave rules and regulations?

New legislation allowing employees access to 10 days of Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave (FSVL) applies for large business from today, 1 February 2023. What does this mean for employers?

Firstly, what’s changed?

  • Full-time, part-time and casual employees will be able to access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12-month period (FDVL)
  • Previously, only full-time and part-time employees could access FDVL and only up to 5 days of unpaid leave in a 12-month period
  • The full 10-day leave entitlement will be available upfront and can be taken in a single block or in any other manner
  • There is no length of service requirement or qualifying period
  • The leave does not accumulate year-to-year
  • There are now tighter rules about information that must not be included on an employee’s pay slip relating to paid FDVL in order to preserve confidentiality

What is FDV?

Violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative, a current or former intimate partner, or a member of their household, that:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee;
  • or causes them harm or fear

Who is included?

  • Spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner
  • Child, Parent, Grandparent, Grandchild or Sibling
  • A child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of an employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner,
  • A person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules
  • Intimate partners (even if not living together), or
  • Housemates

When can it be accessed?

Full-time, part-time and casual employees may apply for FDVL if:

  • they experience family and domestic violence
  • they need to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence
  • it is impractical to deal with the family and domestic violence outside their ordinary hours of work

What evidence is required?

An employer can ask their employee for evidence that shows the employee took the leave to deal with family and domestic violence
If the employee doesn’t provide the requested evidence, they may not get FDVL
The evidence has to convince a reasonable person that the employee took the leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence

Types of evidence

  • documents issued by the police service
  • documents issued by a court (AVO/ADVO CAN’s)
  • family violence support service documents, or
  • a statutory declaration

What about Confidentiality?

New regulations prohibit employees from including information concerning FDVL on employees’ pay slips (Regulations)
This includes information about the employee taking FDVL, including leave records as well as any evidence provided by the employee
Payroll systems must be set up to ensure non-disclosure in leave records and on payslips
Pay slips must not mention FDVL, including any leave taken and leave balances

What are the obligations of an employer?

  • FDVL is now an NES entitlement
  • FDVL has strict record-keeping requirements
  • A contravention of these requirements by an employer can lead to civil penalties
  • $16,500 for individual; $82,500 for corporation
  • FDVL poses general protections risks in that someone may not be treated adversely due to accessing FDVL.

What should employers do now?

We recommend that all businesses take the following actions immediately:

  • Update your employment contracts
  • Update your Family and Domestic Violence Leave Policy
  • Communicate the changes to all employees
  • Update your induction processes to ensure all new employees understand the policy and how to seek support
  • Ensure your payroll and finance systems are compliant with confidentiality requirements

We are here to help you with any of these changes. Reach out if we can offer you support.

say hi to our author

Merilyn founded Catalina Consultants in 2012 on the belief that all organisations, regardless of size, should have access to top quality bespoke HR services. She enjoys working closely with her clients and believes that the best results are built on relationships of rapport, trust and authenticity. Growing up, Merilyn had her sight set on stardom and dreamed of becoming an actor. She also sang and played the piano, but ended up studying accounting and HR. Whilst she hasn’t won her Grammy just yet, she still loves a good karaoke night. Merilyn loves to travel with her family, with South Africa being one of her most memorable destinations.

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