Proposed amendments to family and domestic leave introduced to Parliament


The National Employment Standards (NES) (found in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act)) are the minimum employment entitlements that must be provided to all employees. Currently, the NES provides for 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year.  The Bill proposes to increase this entitlement to 10 days’ paid leave.

Currently, under s106B of the Fair Work Act, an employee is entitled to take family and domestic violence leave if:

  • the employee is experiencing family and domestic violence; and
  • the employee needs to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence; and
  • it is impractical for the employee to do that thing outside the employee’s ordinary hours of work.

Family and domestic violence leave is defined under the Fair Work Act as:

“…violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by a close relative of an employee that seeks to coerce or control the employee; and causes the employee harm or to be fearful”.

The Bill proposes to extend this definition to include “a member of an employee’s household, or a current or former intimate partner of an employee” in addition to “a close relative of an employee”.

The amendments under the Bill are proposed to take effect from 1 August 2023 in relation to employees of a small business employer (employers with fewer than 15 employees) and 1 February 2023 for other employers.

Employers need to be aware that these changes may come into effect later this year. It is a timely reminder to ensure employment contracts and workplace policies are up to date and reflect current legislation.