Paid family and domestic violence leave for all school staff

31 October 2022
Steven Troeth, Partner, Melbourne Diana Diaz, Special Counsel, Melbourne Emma Moran, Special Counsel, Melbourne

From 1 February 2023 all school employees will be entitled to paid family and domestic violence leave as changes to the National Employment Standard come into operation.

The entitlement to ten days paid leave replaces and improves on the existing entitlement in the NES to five days unpaid leave. The changes are intended to help all employees, including casuals, to remain in work, maintain their financial security and minimise the financial impact of the violence, and assist them to be able to access relevant services.

The improved entitlement under the NES:

  • provides ten days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12 month period for full-time, part-time and casual employees;
  • provides employees with access to paid family and domestic violence leave at their full rate of pay for the hours they would have worked had they not taken the leave; and
  • in addition to the domestic violence conduct of immediate family members towards an employee, the entitlement is extended to include such conduct of a current or former intimate partner of the employee, or a member of the employee’s household.

The leave is available to an employee who is experiencing family and domestic violence if they need to do something to deal with the impact of the violence and it is impractical to do so outside their work hours.

Such things may include arranging for the safety of the employee or a close relative, attending court hearings, or accessing police services, counselling or meeting with medical, financial or legal advisers.

For many schools, these changes may simply align their current policy in relation to the provision of paid family and domestic violence leave. Where an entitlement to paid leave is already provided in your school’s enterprise agreement and workplace policy, this entitlement can still be provided as long as it is not detrimental to an employee when compared to the new NES entitlement.

All current employees of schools will be able to access the paid leave from 1 February 2023. Their entitlement to ten days’ paid leave will thereafter reset on each anniversary of their employment start date.

All new employees of schools after 1 February 2023 will be able to access the paid leave from the day their employment commences.

Matters for review

We recommend that schools:

  • review their current family and domestic leave policies to ensure that they comply with the NES and update where required;
  • review any entitlement to family and domestic leave in their enterprise agreements to ensure that it is not detrimental to an employee from 1 February 2023 when compared to the NES entitlement; and
  • note that the entitlement is not cumulative but, after 1 February 2023, is reset on each anniversary of an employee’s employment.

Reference: Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Act 2022. 

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Authored by:

Steven Troeth, Partner
Diana Diaz, Special Counsel
Emma Moran, Senior Associate

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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