From 1 August 2023, all employees can access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year. This includes part-time and casual employees.
The entitlement to paid family and domestic violence leave started on different dates for different groups of employees, as follows:
- Employees of small business employers (less than 15 employees): 1 August 2023
- Employees of non-small business employers: 1 February 2023.
For more information, see Family and domestic violence leave.
Unpaid family and domestic violence leave
Before the introduction of paid family and domestic violence leave, employees (including part-time and casual employees) could access 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.
When employees became eligible for paid leave, it replaced their previous entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
Who could take unpaid family and domestic violence leave
All employees were entitled to 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year. This included part-time and casual employees.
Employees must have been experiencing family and domestic violence to be eligible to take unpaid family and domestic violence leave.
Like the current paid family and domestic violence leave entitlement, entitlement to unpaid family and domestic violence leave came from the NES and was a minimum leave entitlement , like unpaid carer’s leave.
When the leave was available
Eligible employees could access the full 5 days of unpaid leave from the day they started work.
These employees could take unpaid leave if they needed to do something to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.
For example, this included:
- making arrangements for their safety, or safety of a close relative (including relocation)
- attending court hearings
- accessing police services.
The leave didn’t need to be taken all at once and could be taken as single or multiple days.
An employer and employee could also agree for an employee to take:
- less than one day at a time, or
- more than 5 days.
How the leave accrued
An employee’s unpaid leave entitlement was available immediately and would reset on the employee’s work anniversary. It didn’t accumulate from year to year.
Registered and enterprise agreements
Eligible employees got 5 days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave even if their agreement provided less. This was because the NES continued to apply as the minimum entitlement, even if an award or agreement provided less.
Types of agreements included:
- registered agreements
- enterprise awards, or
- state reference public sector awards.
Some businesses may provide paid or unpaid family and domestic violence leave entitlements in their employment contracts or workplace policies. The amount of leave and pay entitlements will depend on the contract or policy.
If an employment contract or workplace policy provides less than the minimum entitlement in the NES, the NES entitlement still applies. This was the same for the former unpaid leave entitlement in the NES as for the current paid leave entitlement.
Taking unpaid family and domestic violence leave didn’t break an employee’s period of continuous service. However, the leave didn’t count as service when calculating accumulated entitlements, such as paid leave.
Interaction with other types of leave
Employees who experienced family and domestic violence could also take other types of leave, instead of unpaid family and domestic violence leave. For example, they may have taken paid annual leave or paid sick or carer’s leave.
Notice and evidence for unpaid family and domestic violence leave
The same notice and evidence requirements applied to unpaid family and domestic violence leave that currently apply to paid family and domestic violence leave.
See Notice and evidence for family and domestic violence leave for more information on these requirements.