Parental leave and the law

September 5, 2018

Having a baby is a beautiful time for a family. When you find out you are pregnant it makes sense to find out what your rights are, after all, you still have bills to pay and an extra person to feed.

Parental leave entitlements

Parental leave is granted when a baby is either born or adopted. What does this mean for you?

If you have completed 12 months of continuous service with your employer, by the date of birth you are entitled to take 12-months maternity leave, or if your employer agrees you can take up to 24 months, in one continuous time period. Parental leave includes paternal parents, de facto partners and same sex couples.

What are the facts around parental leave

  • If you are pregnant you can start your maternity leave up to 6 weeks before your due date.
  • If you are adopting a child, the parental leave starts the date of the adoption.
  • As an employee you are guaranteed to return to work after your maternity leave has finished. You will return with the same position, or one of similar status if it is no longer available, and with the same pay.

If you are planning on having another child, you do not need to work another 12 months before you take maternity leave again.

As an employee what are your responsibilities?

As an employee to be eligible for unpaid maternity leave you must comply with the following:

  • You must give 10 weeks written notice where possible.
  • You must specify a start and end date, the start date can be amended or changed if it is unavoidable.

Parental leave

There is a parental leave pay that is funded by the Australian Government. You must apply for parental leave through the government and then your place of employment will distribute the funds to you via your usual pay cycle.

You are entitled to 18 weeks pay under the scheme and full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal and self-employed workers might be eligible.

Unfair dismissal

A pregnant employee is not to be discriminated against in any way. Should an employee need to be moved from a job to a safer role, they will be compensated in the same way. Should an employee be sacked because of their pregnancy contact the Fair Work Commission within 21 days of the event.

To find out more about your rights download this Government Fact Sheet


Know your rights

If you feel you have been subject to discrimination, unfair dismissal or you have not been given your rights, talk to Radich Lawyers on the Gold Coast. Call for an obligation-free discussion and we can assess whether you have a case. Call 0412 763 602 anytime Monday to Friday for expert legal services.