The following article discusses Family and Domestic Violence Leave (FDVL) and may be found as confronting or a trigger to some.
Recent and ongoing Fair Work legislative changes will undoubtedly see an increase in employee use of Family and Domestic Violence Leave (FDVL). In response, the AHR Team strongly advise that employers review current confidentiality practices surrounding employee application for leave and record keeping processes.
To recap legislative changes, as of the 1st of February 2023, employees of non-small businesses (15 or more employees) can access up to 10 days of paid Family and Domestic Violence leave (FDVL), with employees of small businesses (less than 15 employees) able to access this same entitlement from the 1st of August 2023. For more information see our article, ‘Family and Domestic Violence Leave’.
Employers need to be aware that this leave will be:
- Made available to full time, part time, and casual employees.
- Available from the first day of employment.
- Paid as ‘time worked’. Unlike other leave that is calculated on a base rate, FDVL is to be paid for the allocated shift meant to be worked, inclusive of shift loading and penalties.
- Requested for a variety of reasons such as, court proceedings, counselling, recovery, relocating one’s self or a close relative, attendance at appointments with doctors, lawyers, and the police.
- Available leave will reset annually to 10 days. For example, if 3 days have been used throughout the year, it will return to a total of 10 the following year.
- Strictly confidential. It will be a business’s responsibility to ensure FDVL IS NOT displayed on an employee’s payslip.
When receiving an application for FDVL, employers need to maintain employee privacy above all. An employee’s intent to take this type of leave should be safeguarded by the employer, and all interactions and documentation surrounding this should be treated sensitively and confidentially throughout the entire process.
The AHR Team have determined a few noteworthy tips:
- Upon receiving documentation from an employee that supports an FDVL application, a note should be made to verify that is has been sited and the document then returned to the employee or shredded.
- In keeping any hard copies of employee details, the file must be kept securely in a locked filing cabinet or equivalent. If kept in a digital space, the space needs to be secure with limited and monitored access.
- An employee’s payslip MUST NOT display the FDVL leave. If a payslip displays FDVL, it could have severe repercussions for the employee, particularly if the payslip finds its way to the perpetrator. We recommend that employee ‘use’ and ‘balance’ of this leave is kept as a hard copy on an employee’s file or that a note be placed in the employee’s tab in your preferred payroll software.
- The main principle behind these efforts is ‘safety’, and therefore employers need to do more ‘in person’, to prevent information trails of text and email that could place an employee in more danger.
If you are concerned about your current business practices surrounding FDVL, it is advisable you call the AHR Team urgently on 1800 577 515. Specifically, we can equip you with a checklist on how to confidentially support your employees, we can support and work with you to implement Policies and Procedures in relation to FDVL, and/or we can do all of this for you alongside visits to the workplace to support your business with a Family and Domestic Violence case in conjunction with the authorities.