Parental leave can be taken when an:
- employee gives birth
- employee’s spouse or de facto partner gives birth
- employee adopts a child under 16 years of age.
Who is entitled to parental leave
Employees are entitled to unpaid parental leave if they have worked with their employer for at least 12 months.
Casual employees can take unpaid parental leave if they:
- have been working for their employer regularly for at least 12 months
- expect to continue working regularly for their employer.
How much parental leave an employee gets
Employees can take 12 months of unpaid parental leave.
Once an employee has started their unpaid parental leave, they can apply to extend it for an extra 12 months.
How an employee can take parental leave
An employee can take unpaid parental leave:
- as a continuous period (for example, 6 months in a row)
- flexibly for up to 100 days (for example, several single days)
- as a combination of a continuous period and flexible days.
When both parents want to take parental leave
The 12 months of unpaid parental leave can be taken by both parents and taken at the same time.
Both parents can also apply to extend their leave for an extra 12 months beyond the initial leave amount.
How much notice is needed for parental leave
Employees have to give their employer at least 10 weeks’ notice (notice) before starting unpaid parental leave.
Employees also have to confirm the leave dates at least 4 weeks before the start of the leave.
Special parental leave
An employee can take unpaid leave if they can’t work because:
- they are pregnant and have a pregnancy-related illness, or
- their pregnancy ends after 12 weeks because of a miscarriage, termination or stillbirth.
This type of leave is called special unpaid parental leave.
Pregnant employees are entitled to a safe job if they can’t do their usual job because of their pregnancy.
The employee must give their employer evidence (for example, a medical certificate) about needing a safe job.
If there’s no safe job, the employee can take no safe job leave. The employer must pay this leave if the employee is eligible for parental leave.
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.
The employee has to return to this job even if another person was doing it while they were on leave.
Paid parental leave
Employees can get parental leave pay from the Australian Government. For more information, visit Services Australia – Parental Leave Pay.
Employees may also get paid parental leave from their employer.