If you’re planning on bringing a child into your family, it’s important to be aware of your parental leave entitlements. Australia is a signatory of two international human rights treaties that include the right to maternity leave. This is obviously a positive thing; however, parental leave entitlements do come with some caveats.
The below information is just a short overview of federal legislation. It’s essential that you check the relevant state and federal government websites for the most up to date information as it specifically relates to your situation.
Check your eligibility
It’s essential to first read up on the eligibility criteria to establish if you’re entitled to maternity leave and/or payments. For instance, there is a work test and income test to establish if you can receive Parental Leave Pay.
Additionally, employees must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months in full-time, part-time or in some cases casual employment to be entitled to Parental Leave.
It’s also important to read over your employment contract with your employer to establish whether they have any specific policies relating to parental leave you need to be across.
Establish what you’re entitled to:
Parental leave can be taken when:
- an employee gives birth
- an employee’s spouse or de facto partner gives birth
- an employee adopts a child under 16 years of age.
Eligible employees are entitled to take up to 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave. You may also be allowed an additional 52 weeks leave if desired. There is also special maternity leave whereby unpaid leave is available in the event of pregnancy-related illness or if the pregnancy ends after 12 weeks because of miscarriage, termination or stillbirth.
Parental Leave Pay is based on the weekly rate of the national minimum wage. Eligible employees are entitled to up to 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay which is currently $772.55 per week or $154.51 a day before tax.
- All pregnant employees are entitled to switch to a safe job if it isn’t safe for them to continue doing their usual job.
- You are entitled to return to work in the same position you held before maternity leave or if that position doesn’t exist anymore, you are entitled to a position of similar status and pay.