Domestic violence leave days increased

After years of campaigning by Federation and other unions, teachers can now access up to 10 days of domestic violence leave each year without being required to exhaust other forms of leave first.

This is a big step forward for teachers whose lives are affected by domestic violence and will support those teachers to look for new accommodation, attend courts or police stations and attend a range of medical appointments.

The previous provision of five days was only available to teachers who had exhausted all sick and FACS leave, leaving those affected by violence without accumulated balances to cover illness, including for their children.

A growing body of research demonstrated the benefits of 10 days of leave, supporting people to escape violence more quickly and get back on their feet.

Federation has been pushing for increases to domestic violence leave for teachers in schools and TAFE since the introduction of the leave in 2012.

The Department issued an industrial relations circular on 4 February (IRC 19/01) and while the leave determination is yet to be updated, the increased leave became available from the beginning of this year.

In addition to the leave, the Premier’s memorandum outlines that “the NSW Government also strongly supports initiatives that enable and support victims of domestic and family violence to continue to participate in the workforce rather than address the issue solely through the availability of leave”.

This means that principals and other workplace managers should, where requested, attempt to negotiate flexible arrangements to minimise the amount of time off work required.

These could include: changing start or finish times (where possible), facilitating working offsite during the teacher’s release time, moving the teacher’s workspace within the school, and more.

Advice about negotiating flexible arrangements and the provision of domestic violence leave can be sought from Federation’s Professional Support section on 1300 654 367.

To apply for the leave, teachers will need to contact EdConnect, rather than applying through SAP.

Measures are in place to ensure confidentiality, such as not requiring supporting documentation to be uploaded or emailed.

The Health and Safety Directorate is available to provide advice and support to teachers and principals.