A Guide On Parental Leave Policy And Rights In Australia

April 6, 2021    employmentlawyersblog   
A Guide On Parental Leave Policy And Rights In Australia

Parenthood is one of the best gifts in this World. For working parents, taking a parental leave to raise their new-born is the best alternative. Different parental leaves in Australia include maternity leave, paternity and partner leave, adoption leave, special maternity leave. After the leave is over, a parent in Australia has full right to return to his/her old job. But, sometimes problem and confusion may occur between employer and employee. For this reason, it is important for you to know the parental leave policy and rights in Australia.

What Is A Parental Leave?

A parental leave is granted to a female employee when she is about to give birth, to a male employee when his spouse or partner is about to give birth, and also for an employee who will go on to adopt a child under 16 years of age.

Eligibility For A Parental Leave

In Australia, all the employees have the right to take parental leave. They generally have to work for at least 12 months for a certain employer before the date of expected birth of the child or before the date of adoption or before the date of the start of the leave when the leave is taken after another person cares for the child or takes a parental leave. You can also take parental leave if you have or will have to take responsibilities to take care of a child.

Apart from permanent employees, casual employees can also take parental leaves in Australia. They have to work on a continuous and systematic basis for at least 12 months. Moreover, they are expected to continue work with the employer except for the reason of birth of a child.

Different Parental Leaves

There are different schemes of parental leaves. These are:

  • Unpaid Parental Leave: This parental leave can be taken by an employee who works under an employer for more than 12 months. Employees can take 12 months of unpaid parental leave when they or their partner give birth or adopt a child. They can get another 12 months of unpaid parental leave but for that, a written application has to be sent to the employer at least 4 weeks before the end of the first unpaid parental leave period.

For an employee returning after the leave ends, must be assured about work guarantee. This means the position he/she holds before taking the leave, must hold after re-joining. Even if the position is abolished, the employee should be entitled to a similar position with almost the same payment and status as the position he/she holds before taking the leave.

  • Government-Funded Parental Leave Pay: A parental leave pay or PLP is funded by the Australian government for a maximum period of 18 weeks period. The fund is given at national minimum wage. Eligible employees can get payment during the leave, but it does not extend the period of leave they take. Employees can split PLP into two periods, a set period and a flexible period.

The set period is a minimum period of 60 days which an employee is expected to take within a continuous block, and within the 12 months of birth or adoption of the child. It can be taken at different times, like before or after or at the same time as other leave entitlements like annual leave or employer-funded paid parental leave. You must keep in mind that, the set period ends just as the employee joins the work.

Flexible period is little different from set period. As the name suggests, it can be used by the employees as individual days or one or two blocks which can be done through mutual negotiations with the employer. The most important thing to remember about this period is that, it must be used within 24 months from the birth or adoption of a child. Once the set period ends and the employee re-joins the work, flexible period starts.

  • Paternal And Partner Pay: Working fathers who take unpaid parental leave in the first year of the child’s birth can avail for paternal and partner pay. Those who are eligible can get government-funded pay for a maximum of 2 weeks at national minimum wage.

What To Do If Faced Serious Issues?

All employees have workplace rights, violation of which is a serious crime. There must not be any discrimination showed to any employee who is returning after a parental leave. If such things happen and you feel you got sacked from your pre-parental leave job because of discrimination or a reason that is harsh and unjust, it is recommended to contact organizations who will provide you with a workplace lawyer.

Ending Note

You will have a specified number of days in your hand to lodge a complaint from the day you are sacked. Employment Lawyers Perth is an organization who can get you in touch with workplace lawyers or employment law lawyers who will guide you.

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