Domestic violence leave
If you, or a child in your care, are affected by domestic violence, you can ask your employer for paid domestic violence leave and flexible working arrangements.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger call 111 now.
What domestic violence means
Domestic (or family) violence includes physical, sexual or psychological abuse.
Under the Domestic Violence — Victims’ Protection Act 2018, you have the right to be protected against domestic violence whatever your gender or type of relationship you’re in.
Types of abuse
The violence might be from anyone who you have had a family or intimate relationship with, for example, former partners, flatmates, adult children.
Abuse may be:
- intimidation, harassment, or threats
- financial, economic, or dowry abuse
- damage to property or abuse of pets.
Your rights as an employee
It does not matter if the violence happened before you started with your current employer, or before the law changed on 1 April 2019.
If you meet the employment criteria, you can:
- apply to take 10 days of paid domestic violence leave each year
- ask for a short-term flexible working arrangement for up to 2 months.
You cannot be discriminated against unfairly at your work.
You can also ask for paid domestic leave to support a child who has experienced domestic violence.
The employment criteria that apply depend on whether you are in full-time work, or some other situation such as part-time or casual work.
If you are in full-time work, you must have worked 6 months in a row with the same employer.
Other employment types
If you are in part-time, casual or on-call work, the ‘hours worked’ criteria apply. The criteria are that in the last 6 months you:
- worked for the same employer, and
- worked in total at least 240 hours, and
- worked at least 1 hour each week, or 40 hours each month.
If you don’t meet the criteria for paid domestic leave
If you don’t meet the criteria, your employer can still agree for you to:
- take domestic violence leave in advance
- use your sick leave or annual leave.
Applying for domestic violence leave
Tell your employer as soon as possible that you need to apply for domestic violence leave. Your employer has up to 10 working days to reply in writing to your request.
If your employer asks for proof
If your employer asks for proof, it must be within 3 working days of your request for leave.
Your employer can:
- ask for proof that you’re affected by domestic violence
- accept any type of proof (for example, a note from your counsellor or doctor)
- delay paying you until they get the proof, unless you have a reasonable excuse for not providing it — for example, you had to move home quickly for safety reasons.
If your employer refuses your request for leave
Your personal information
Your personal information must be kept private and confidential by your employer, including the reason for any leave you take.
Talk to your manager or HR department if you have any concerns about who else needs your details, such as for processing your leave request or pay.
Short-term flexible working
You can ask your employer to change your work arrangements for up to 2 months. It could be a change to your duties, work location or the time you start and finish work each day.
If you are refused leave or flexible work arrangements
If you can’t talk to your employer you can get free, confidential help and mediation.