Queensland Government public service employees affected by domestic and family violence (DFV) can access support options, including a minimum of 10 days paid leave, counselling from employee assistance programs (EAP), flexible work arrangements, and workplace and role adjustments, where appropriate.
10 days paid leave
Under Directive 03/20 – Support for employees affected by domestic and family violence, employees affected by DFV can access a minimum 10 days paid leave per year.
Employees do not have to use other leave entitlements before accessing this leave, and it can be taken as consecutive days, a single day, or part of a day.
This leave is in addition to the other support options available.
Special Leave directive
Under Directive 05/17 – Special Leave, the chief executive can approve paid or unpaid discretionary leave for reasons that may include DFV.
Industrial Relations Act 2016
Under the Industrial Relations Act 2016, state and local government employees can access paid and unpaid leave for DFV.
Employees affected by DFV may not be able to provide documentation to support their request for leave or other support options. Access to support should not be denied in the absence of documentation.
There may be some circumstances in which further information might reasonably be sought from the employee in order to provide adequate support with their consent. Any related communications must be conducted in a sensitive and non-judgmental manner. Any documentation must be returned to the employee unless the employee requests otherwise.
Employees have the right to choose whether, when and to whom they disclose information about being affected by DFV. Information disclosed by an employee in relation to DFV is to be kept confidential, except to the extent that disclosure is required or permitted by law.
Responses to disclosures should be handled in a supportive, sensitive, and non-judgmental manner.
Employees affected by DFV can access free and confidential counselling services through their agency EAP. Managers can also access the program to seek advice on supporting staff affected by DFV.
Employees are not expected to counsel their colleagues, but refer them to the appropriate networks for support and counselling.
Flexible work arrangements
Employees affected by DFV can access flexible work arrangements.
Safety in the workplace
DFV is an issue that can extend to the workplace and affect an employee's safety, attendance and performance.
An individual DFV risk assessment and workplace safety plan helps assess the risks and the level of support needed to assist an employee affected by DFV. The safety plan should be developed with the employee on a case-by-case basis to:
- reflect their specific circumstances and needs
- take into account their role and the workplace environment
- list the precautions to be undertaken to support their safety
- identify the changes to their working arrangements to protect them and colleagues
- include any other information required to ensure their safety in the workplace.
The Workplace risk management guide supports agencies to identify, assess and manage workplace risks associated with DFV.
Support employees during COVID-19
The Queensland Government is dedicated to the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees, and recognises the public health directions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as social distancing, self-isolation and limiting non-essential activity may bring increased anxiety, risk and exposure to issues including DFV.
The need for these measures means employees affected by DFV, especially those working from home, may be at increased risk.
Managers play an important role in supporting the safety and wellbeing of employees whether they are in the office or working from home.