Australian employees will be entitled to paid family and domestic violence leave from tomorrow.

All employers with more than 15 employees as at 1 February 2023 must now offer 10 days of paid leave per year to employees for the purpose of making arrangements for their safety or that of a close relative; attending court hearings and counselling services; and attending appointments with medical, financial or legal professionals.

For employers with less than 15 employees as at 1 February, the leave doesn’t come into effect until 1 August 2023, however, all Australian workers are currently entitled to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave until the new paid leave becomes available to them.

Paid family and domestic violence leave applies to all Australian employees regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time or casual workers, and includes all overtime or penalty rates for the hours they would have worked if they weren’t on leave.

The leave does not accumulate from year to year and must be used within 12 months of the employee’s work anniversary.

Law firm Lander and Rogers said employers must ensure they comply with the new Fair Work Amendment (Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave) Bill 2022 by educating and training managers on the content of the new laws and how to deal with applications for the leave, as well as communicating the changes to staff, and reviewing existing workplace policies to ensure compliance.

Employers are not allowed to include information about paid family and domestic leave on an employee’s work slip.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 2.2 million Australians have experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner, and 3.6 million have experienced emotional abuse.