Australia Has Introduced Domestic Violence Leave For Employees

This is how it works

From today, August 1st 2018, Australian employees can apply for family and domestic violence leave, entitling them to five days of unpaid leave per year.

The change was created to assist those in difficult family situations and applies to those covered by an industry or occupation award including casual employees, reports. 

The Fair Work Commission describes the leave entitlement on its website as: “family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that seeks to coerce or control the employee or causes them harm or fear”.

It further explains that a ‘family member’ includes an employee’s spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, an employee’s current or former spouse or de facto partner’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules. 


In February, a landmark report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare revealed sobering figures about the prevalence of family, domestic and sexual violence in the country.

The statistical report found one in six women (equating to 1.6 million women) and one in 16 men have experience psychical and/or sexual violence by a cohabitating partner since the age of 15.

Furthermore, the research found one woman a week and one man a month were killed by a current or former partner from 2012-13 and 2013-14.

The report was built from 20 different data sources including the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“Women are more likely to experience violence from a known person and in their home, while men are more likely to experience violence from strangers and in a public place,” AIHW spokesperson Louise York said in a statement.

The groups particularly vulnerable include Indigenous women, young women and pregnant women.

If you or anyone you know needs help or advice, contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

Related stories