An employee is entitled to be absent from duty for a total of 7 years’ parental absence following or in conjunction with the birth, adoption or otherwise becoming the legal parent of a child. Excluding partner leave and other paid parental leave, only 1 parental absence may be approved for a particular child (or children in respect of a multiple birth) which must be a continuous absence.
Apart from any paid leave taken in conjunction with the birth, adoption or otherwise becoming the legal parent of a child, parental absence is without pay.
Parental absence may extend up to the 7th birthday of the child for whom the leave was granted with the following exceptions:
- the absence may be extended beyond the 7th birthday to allow for resumption of duty at the start of a school term, and
- parental absence in respect of an adopted child can be extended beyond the 7th birthday of the adopted child up to a maximum of 7 years or the 16th birthday of the adopted child, whichever occurs first
If a total of 7 years of parental absence has been taken, a further period of parental absence may be approved in the event of any subsequent birth, adoption or otherwise becoming the legal parent of a child.
Where 2 employees are eligible to access parental absence in respect of the same child, the provisions of the National Employment Standards permit both employees to be absent concurrently for a maximum of 8 weeks. During this 8 week period each employee is entitled to take any form of paid leave (including partner, other paid parental leave or long service leave) or unpaid leave.
Excluding the 8 weeks of concurrent leave, where 2 employees are eligible to access parental absence in respect of the same child, both employees may not be absent at the same time and the absences must be contiguous.
In circumstances where an employee becomes pregnant or is an approved applicant for the adoption of a child while the employee’s partner is on parental absence, one of the employees must resume duty within 6 weeks of the date of birth or placement of the child.
Where the pregnancy of an employee terminates or results in the birth of a stillborn child after more than 12 weeks, the employee is entitled to a parental absence of 6 months following the termination, inclusive of any period of maternity leave to which the employee is entitled, or a longer period with medical certification.
For a fixed term employee any form of parental absence cannot continue beyond the date employment would otherwise have ceased.
Commencement of parental absence
An employee can commence a period of parental absence at any time on or after:
- the date the employee submits satisfactory medical evidence that the employee is pregnant,
- the date of birth or adoption or otherwise becoming the legal parent of a child (including the adoption of a child who is a relative of the employee),
- the date an employee becomes the guardian of a child, or
- the date an employee is granted parental responsibility for a child under a care order made pursuant to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic)
An application for parental absence must be lodged in writing in advance and accompanied by satisfactory supporting documentation relating to the birth, adoption or otherwise becoming the legal parent of a child. Information is available below about the specific supporting documentation which must accompany an application for a particular form of leave.
An employee who is pregnant is required to absent themselves from duty:
- for the period commencing 6 weeks prior to the expected date of the child's birth until 6 weeks after the actual date of birth, or
- from the actual date of birth of the child until 6 weeks after the date of birth of the child in the event that the actual date of birth occurs earlier than the expected date of birth, or
- from the 1st day following the period the employee is permitted to attend for duty during the required absence period as outlined below
An employee is permitted to attend for duty during any part of the required absence period provided that:
- the employee will be fit for duty for the relevant period (proof of which is to be by medical certificate supplied by the employee), and
- the attendance sought by the employee is at a time employees ordinarily attend for duty
Where an employee is pregnant and, in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner, illness or risks arising out of the pregnancy or hazards connected with the work assigned to the employee make it inadvisable for the employee to continue in their present position the employee will, if there is an appropriate safe job available, be temporarily transferred to that job on the conditions attaching to that job for such period as is certified necessary by a registered medical practitioner. An employee temporarily transferred to a safe job will be paid not less than their substantive salary immediately prior to the temporary transfer.
If temporary transfer to an appropriate safe job is not practicable the employee may elect, or may be required, to be absent on paid leave for such period as is certified necessary by a registered medical practitioner.
Reviewed 06 April 2020