Domestic Violence Leave – New Leave Provisions for all Award-covered Employees

Domestic Violence Leave – New Leave Provisions for all Award-covered Employees

Earlier this year we advised that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) had completed its four-yearly review of modern awards and had ruled that domestic violence leave would be covered by modern awards moving forward.

Acknowledging the seriousness of domestic violence as a social issue, the FWC stated in their summary that “The circumstances faced by employees who experience family and domestic violence require a special response”.

What do I need to know?

As of 1 August 2018, this clause came into effect. All workers covered by modern awards now have access to five days of unpaid domestic violence leave per year.

This entitlement is available to both permanent and casual employees alike and will be available in full at the commencement of each 12-month period, however it does not accumulate from year to year.

How does this affect me?

Now that this clause is in effect, you will need to allow for all award-covered employees to access this entitlement for domestic violence leave.

In accessing this leave, you are entitled to ask employees to provide evidence to support the leave application. Types of evidence can include documents issued by the police service or the court, statutory declarations or family violence support service documents. The evidence must convince a reasonable person that the employee took the leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.

What do I need to do?

Now that this leave is available to Award covered employees, your best course of action is to:

  1. Review existing policies and procedures dealing with entitlements such as leave to ensure inclusion of this new entitlement;
  2. Provide information, whether verbal or written, to employees regarding how this new entitlement will interact with their existing entitlements; and
  3. Update the ‘back end’ of your accounting or record keeping system to include domestic violence leave, in the case you need to process this type of leave in your systems.

We genuinely hope that this particular type of leave is never required by any person within your business, however these three actions will make sure you are knowledgeable and prepared regarding this change in entitlements for your employees.


If this has raised any concerns for you or any members of your team, we encourage you to contact White Ribbon for further support.


Feel free to reach out if you would like some support in understanding and implementing these changes.

You can contact us at or call us on 02 4967 6695.