Family and domestic violence is a brutal reality for many people. Every week, a woman will die as a result of domestic violence in Australia.
Domestic and family violence can be perpetrated by a partner, as well as by a close member of your family or someone else you live with.
It is important to remember that this issue is not limited to physical violence. Threats, manipulation and other forms of psychologically and emotionally abusive behaviour are all forms of domestic abuse.
Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult and usually requires taking time off work. Accessing support services and making other necessary arrangements takes time and it should not be up to victims to shoulder the financial burden.
In 2018 the ACTU took a case to the Fair Work Commission, which led to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave becoming standard for all employees. The union movement continues to campaign for this leave to be extended to ten days and to be paid.
All employees, including casuals, are entitled to five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year. Many awards and enterprise agreements give you the right to access up to ten days of paid leave.
Unlike some other types of leave, family and domestic violence leave does not accumulate over time. You just get credited at least five days of leave at the start of each year.
You also do not get paid out for unused days when you leave your job, so make sure that you take this leave if you need it.
If you need more than five days of leave, most reasonable employers should make allowances and support you. If your employer cannot offer you more days of paid leave, you also have the option of taking unpaid domestic and family violence leave.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse and need help dealing with your employer, your union is there to help you. You can also call us on 1300 486 466 for free, confidential advice and assistance.
If you need support that does not relate to your work, 1800 Respect provides free, confidential assistance to victims of domestic abuse.
Funding for this factsheet was provided by the Victorian Government as part of the UTECH project. Please note that the information given here is general information only and is not legal advice. For further assistance, it is recommended you speak to your union.