Domestic violence is a horrible situation, and a very real one for millions of Australians. Examples of domestic violence include violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative that seeks to coerce or control the employee, and/or causes them harm or fear.

All employees (including part-time and casual employees) are entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.

How do I know someone is experiencing domestic violence?

Many sufferers of domestic abuse are afraid to talk about it, and will go to great lengths to cover it up, often for their own protection.  Familiarising yourself with signs and patterns common to domestic violence sufferers can help you open up conversations if appropriate, and help employees access the support they need.

Behaviours that may mean a person is experiencing domestic violence include:

  • excessive absence or lateness (especially on Mondays)
  • a sudden drop in productivity
  • frequent unexplained injuries
  • wearing long sleeves, even in warm weather
  • frequent or unusual work breaks, or unusual start and finish times
  • displaying anxiety
  • appearing distracted, depressed or overly jumpy
  • lack of concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • inability to take work-related trips
  • receiving excessive personal calls, texts or visits.

If you suspect that one of your employees may be experiencing this, it’s appropriate for you to raise your concerns with them, and help them access the help they need.

When can employees take unpaid family and domestic violence leave?

Domestic violence is a complicated situation, and not one that’s easily or quickly resolved. The five days unpaid leave can be used for times when:

  • They need to make arrangements for their safety or the safety of a close relative, such as a dependent child (including relocation)
  • They have a court hearing or need to access police services
  • It’s impractical to do so outside their ordinary hours of work.

If you need more information on family and domestic violence leave, it’s worth checking out this page on the Fair Work Ombudsmen’s website or call Assurance HR on 1800 577 515.

Other blogs

Genuine Redundancy, or Not Addressing the Issue: the importance of doing things right.

A recent case heard by the Fair Work Commission highlights clearly the importance of communication in the workplace and following all guidelines to th...