Living with domestic violence is challenging and, often dangerous. Throw in the added risks if you're trying to leave the relationship, and you have the makings of a seriously stressful life event.
But what if you work, how do you find time for appointments with lawyers or police? What if you have to attend court or move house? What if you are assaulted and need some time to recover?
Thankfully all working Australians are now entitled to five days unpaid Family and Domestic Violence Leave each year, regardless of whether they are employed on a full time, part time or casual basis.
This leave was introduced in December 2018 and entitlements are available across all industries and all occupation awards.
Unlike some other forms of leave, domestic and family violence leave entitlements are available upon commencement of employment.
They do not need to be accrued.
To be eligible for this leave entitlement the person you are dealing with does not necessarily have to be your intimate partner.
In fact, by definition, it may include any close relative, which extends to include spouse, former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling.
Also included are 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.
If you are interested in utilising this leave you should consider starting a conversation with your boss or a HR representative.
If you need more advice you may like to speak with the Fair Work Ombudsman 8am-5:30pm Monday to Friday on 13 13 94.
Information is also available via the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
- Erica is a Women's Health Counsellor in private practice in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. You can read more about her work at www.shecounselling.com.au. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, on 0412 707 242 or via socials @shecounselling.