Family and Domestic Violence Leave Review

Project LeadAssociate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon
Chief Investigator: Dr Naomi Pfitzner and Emma McNicol
Project Manager: Harshita Rupanagudi

Research overview

This project will inform the Fair Work Commission’s review of the family and domestic violence leave entitlements in modern awards. The research presented a qualitative analysis on the experience of employees who experienced family and domestic violence with a focus on:

  • the impact of domestic violence on employees at work
  • the support provided by the employee’s workplace and any additional support that may have been useful
  • the types of support services and systems that the employee accessed (outside work)

Background to the Review

This project was undertaken for the Fair Work Commission as part of their Family and Domestic and Violence Leave Review (FDV Review), which commenced with a Statement on 15 April 2021. In the Statement, the Full Bench noted that, the following issues will be considered during the FDV Review:

  1. whether employees should be able to access paid personal/carer’s leave for the purpose of taking family and domestic violence leave
  2. the adequacy of the unpaid paid family and domestic violence leave entitlement, and
  3. whether provisions should be made for paid family and domestic violence leave.

For further information about paid domestic and family violence leave read our Research Brief on Paid Family Violence Leave.

About the survey

Via an anonymous online survey, the research study gathered inputs from a diverse set of participants. The survey closed at the end of November 2021 and was followed by interviews with 42 volunteer victim-survivors. The research team is very grateful to all the participants who took the time to contribute to this research.

Survey questions were related to participants' personal experiences of domestic and family violence and how that impacted their participation in work, what workplace based supports they accessed, including leave entitlements, and whether they accessed outside support services during this time.

All data collected as part of this project was de-identified. No identifiable information has been or will be provided to the Fair Work Commission or to any employers.

Project outcomes  

The Final Report, authored by Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Naomi Pfitzner, Emma McNicol and Harshita Rupanagudi, presents the findings of a project undertaken to examine employees’ experiences of DFV by exploring their access to family violence leave and other workplace supports. To do so, it drew on the expertise of 302 DFV victim-survivors who participated in a national survey and 42 victim-survivors who participated in a follow up in-depth interview.

The key findings from this project are presented in this report according to five key themes:

  1. The impact of domestic and family violence on employees at work
  2. Family violence leave
  3. The impact of workplace culture
  4. Beyond leave provisions: additional workplace supports provided by employees’ workplace
  5. Supports accessed by employees outside of their workplace

The full report presented to the Fair Work Commission to inform their Family and Domestic and Violence Leave Review can be downloaded here.

Research team

This project was led by Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon and Dr Naomi Pfitzner with Emma McNicol and Harshita Rupanagudi.

For further details about this research please contact project lead, Associate Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon via email:

Source of funding

This research was funded by the Fair Work Commission.


The research team would like to thank the victim-survivors who shared their lived experience and expertise with us. Without them, this research would not have been possible. We are also extremely grateful to the number of victim-survivors advocates and organisations across Australia who shared our survey and promoted our project through their networks.

We are grateful to the Fair Work Commission for the opportunity to undertake this research to inform their broader review into family violence leave.