Maternity & parental leave
Employees can get parental leave when a child is born or adopted.
On this page:
- What do parental leave entitlements include?
- What is parental leave?
- Who is eligible for parental leave?
- Tools and resources
- Related information
What do parental leave entitlements include?
Parental leave entitlements include:
- maternity leave
- paternity and partner leave
- adoption leave
- special maternity leave
- a safe job and no safe job leave.
Employee parents also have a right to return to their old job.
What is parental leave?
Parental leave is leave that can be taken after:
- an employee gives birth
- an employee's spouse or de facto partner gives birth
- an employee adopts a child under 16 years of age.
Employees are entitled to up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. They can also request up to an additional 12 months of leave.
Employees who are taking parental leave to care for an adopted child are also entitled to 2 days unpaid pre-adoption leave to attend relevant interviews or examinations.
This leave can't be used if an employer tells an employee to take another type of leave (for example, paid annual leave).
Who is eligible for parental leave?
All employees in Australia are entitled to parental leave.
Employees are able to take parental leave if they:
- have worked for their employer for at least 12 months:
- before the date or expected date of birth if the employee is pregnant
- before the date of the adoption, or
- when the leave starts (if the leave is taken after another person cares for the child or takes parental leave)
- have or will have responsibility for the care of a child.
For casual employees to be eligible for unpaid parental leave they need to have:
- been working for their employer on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months
- a reasonable expectation of continuing work with the employer on a regular and systematic basis, had it not been for the birth or adoption of a child.
Having another child
Employees who have taken parental leave don't have to work for another 12 months before they can take another period of parental leave with that same employer.
However if they have started work with a new employer they will need to work with that employer for at least 12 months before they can take parental leave.
There are different arrangements for employees when a transfer of business occurs. See Employee entitlements on a transfer of business for more information.
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.67 - 70, 76 and 85
Tools and resources
- Apply for parental leave
- Employer parental leave checklist
- Employee parental leave checklist
- Parental leave best practice guide
- Parental leave and related entitlements fact sheet