Parental Leave Timeline
The laws surrounding unpaid parental leave can be confusing and complex. This timeline aims to give employers a simple overview of what they need to do and when they need to do it, if they have an employee who is taking unpaid parental leave.
An eligible employee must give at least 10 weeks' notice of their intention to take unpaid parental leave. If the leave is birth related leave the employer can require the employee to produce a medical certificate confirming the date of birth, or the expected date of birth, of the child at the time they give notice. The notice must include and intended start date and an intended finish date of the leave.
Is your employee applying for the Paid Parental Leave ("PPL") scheme from the government? If so, you may be required to make the PPL payments to your employee on the government's behalf. For more information please see our Paid Parental Leave Fact Sheet.
If a pregnant employee continues to work in the 6 weeks prior to the expected date of birth of the child, you can require her to produce a medical certificate clearing her fit for work. If she cannot or does not produce the certificate within 7 days of the request, you can require her to commence unpaid parental leave as soon as reasonably practicable. For more information please see our Parental Leave Fact Sheet.
At least 4 weeks prior to the intended start date of the leave, the employee must confirm the intended start date and finish dates of their leave with their employer.
Employee commences unpaid parental leave.
An eligible employee is entitled to take up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave, with the right to request a further 12 months, except in the case of a couple who both take leave, they may take up to 24 months between them.
If the employee did not take the whole 12 months and subsequently seeks to extend their period of unpaid parental leave they must give their employer written notice of the extension at least 4 weeks prior to end of their original period of leave.
Beyond 52 weeks
An eligible employee may request to take an additional 12 months of unpaid parental leave. In the case of a couple this is reduced by any period of unpaid parental leave that the other has taken. The request must be in writing and the employee must give notice of the request at least 4 weeks prior to the end of the parental leave period. An employer must respond in writing within 21 days. The employer may only refuse on reasonable business grounds and any refusal must be accompanied by the reasons for the refusal.
Under the National Employment Standards, an employee who has the care of a child under school age may request flexible working arrangements such as part time work, or to work from home, for more information please see our Flexible Working Arrangements for Parents Fact Sheet.
Employsure can provide clients with application forms for parental leave and flexible working arrangements and can assist in drafting responses to requests for flexible working arrangements, as well as providing clients with advice on all aspects of parental leave and related entitlements.
Please note that the information contained in this fact sheet is of a general nature and does not constitute advice of any form. Advice on the specific circumstances of any particular case should always be sought before taking any action. If you need any advice, or for any other enquiry please contact us.