Eligability for unpaid parental leave

Hi. Welcome to Tips Tuesday. My name is Melanie Thorley, and I’m the principal solicitor at MJT Law. Today we’re going to look at eligibility for unpaid parental leave. We’re going to start at the Fair Work Ombudsman website with regards to the NES, which is the National Employment Standards. There are ten standards that are applied to all employees in Australia.

Okay. Employees that are eligible for unpaid parental leave. There are some requirements. To be eligible, you must have completed at least twelve months of continuous service with your employer. This includes casual employees, but only if they’ve been employed by an employer on a regular, systematic basis for the last twelve months, and had it not been for the birth, they would have the reasonable expectation that their employment would have continued.

Okay. Now we’re asking the question of what is the entitlement for a parental leave? Okay. The entitlement to a parental leave is well known that you can get up to twelve months of unpaid parental leave. What isn’t known is that if there are two persons who want to take parental leave of twelve months, that is actually possible, as long as they are in a spousal or a de facto relationship. They are considered an employee couple. Where the two employees, not necessarily with the same employer are in a spousal or de facto relationship, then both of them can take up to twelve months of unpaid parental leave. If only one of the couple want to take parental leave, then it is possible for them to request a further twelve months of unpaid parental leave from their employer.

Now, parental leave is only available to employees who have or will have the responsibility of caring for a child, and the leave must be associated with the birth of the child, or the placement of a child under the age of sixteen with the employee for adoption. This means that persons that take on an adopted child can take parental leave as well. Now, the Fair Work Act does include same sex de facto relationships as couples, and so that means that a person who has the same sex as their partner who takes on a biological child or a adoptive child, they can take advantage of this parental leave as well.

Okay. The rules about taking unpaid parental leave. It states here that if one of the employees take leave, or both of them take leave, they can only take a total of a certain amount of time. Leave must be taken on a continuous period, and must start, within any time frame, within twelve months after the birth. Okay. If both people are taking parental leave, then they can take no more than twenty-four months between them. If the employee takes leave first is pregnant or gives birth, then they may start the leave up to six weeks before the expected date.

There are some rules and regulations around parental leave. Some of them you may or may not understand very well. Parental leave is generally well-known that you can take unpaid parental leave if you’ve been working for more than twelve months. What is not known very well is that there are some other requirements, or other things that are available to parents, including this parental leave that can be taken by both parents at the same time, including same sex couples.

Okay. There are some other requirements here. It goes on and on, as you can see here. We recommend that you go jump on to the Fair Work Ombudsman website and look for Parental Leave and Related Entitlements, and this should help you get along the way. If you do have any questions about parental leave, or you feel that your rights for parental leave have been compromised, then you may contact us on 07-3040-0337. I do provide thirty minutes free legal advice over the telephone, and that will hopefully steer you in the right direction. Thanks for listening.