Parental leave

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.

Employees must have worked with their employer for at least 12 months to be able to take parental leave.

Watch our short video about parental leave.

How much leave does an employee get?

Employees can take 12 months of unpaid parental leave and they can ask for an extra 12 months.

The 12 months of unpaid parental leave can be shared between both parents, but they can only take up to 8 weeks leave at the same time.

Paid parental leave

Employees may get parental leave pay from the Australian Government and from their employer. For more information on paid parental leave visit Centrelink – Parental Leave Pay external-icon.png

How much notice?

Employees have to give their employer at least 10 weeks notice (notice) before starting parental leave and must confirm the dates at least 4 weeks before the start of the leave.

Special maternity leave

An employee can take unpaid leave (known as unpaid special maternity leave (unpaid special maternity leave)) if :

  • she has a pregnancy-related illness or
  • her pregnancy ends after 12 weeks because of a miscarriage, termination or stillbirth.

Safe job – what is it?

Pregnant employees are entitled to a safe job (safe job) if they can’t do their usual job because of their pregnancy. The employee must give her employer evidence (eg. medical certificate) about needing a safe job.

If there’s no safe job, the employee can take paid leave (known as no safe job leave (no safe job leave)). The employer must pay this leave as long as the employee has worked with the employer for at least 12 months.

Returning to work from parental leave

When an employee comes back to work, they are entitled to the job they had before going on parental leave. They have to return to this job even if another person was doing it while they were on leave.