Parental Leave

Version Number

3.1

Implementation Date

14/03/2014

Scope

Department-wide

Purpose

​This procedure provides employees with information in relation to entitlements to paid and unpaid parental leave including, maternity, spousal, adoption, surrogacy, pre-natal, pre-adoption and pre-surrogacy leave.  This procedure also provides employees with information on the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme.​

Overview

​Parental leave is available to employees to enable them to act as the primary care giver for their own or their spouse’s child. It includes maternity leave, spousal leave, pre-natal leave, surrogacy leave, pre-surrogacy leave, adoption leave and pre-adoption leave.

Generally, a period of parental leave must not be more than 52 weeks and must not extend beyond one year after the child is born or adopted or started residing with the employee under the surrogacy arrangement, unless an extension is granted under section 29 of the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld)

A period of parental leave includes the period of parental leave taken by the employee's spouse in relation to the same pregnancy or child; and, if sick leave, recreation leave or long service leave (‘other leave’) is applied for in relation to the period of parental leave, the period of other leave.  There is no requirement to exhaust other leave before commencing a period of unpaid parental leave.

The employment of an employee must not be terminated merely because the employee applies for, or has been granted parental leave.

In the case of a temporary employee, the application for parental leave cannot be used as a reason for termination of employment or the failure to renew the engagement if the employment would have been renewed had they not applied for parental leave.  A temporary employee cannot be granted leave of any kind beyond the date on which the temporary employment terminates.  However, the employment should not be extended solely because the employee has applied for parental leave.

Paid parental leave
Paid parental leave includes paid maternity, paid adoption, paid spousal, paid surrogacy, paid pre-natal, paid pre-adoption and paid pre-surrogacy leave.  Where there is an entitlement to paid and unpaid leave, the period of paid maternity/adoption/spousal/surrogacy leave will be taken as the initial absence. 

The qualifying service period for paid parental leave is at least 12 months continuous service in any one or more Queensland government departments or Queensland public service offices. This service is to be unbroken, or may be inclusive of paid and unpaid leave which is credited towards service.

The qualifying service period need only be met once in an employee’s period of continuous service. 

In determining the qualifying period for a part-time employee the passage of time and not the completion of equivalent hours is to be used.

An employee who has not met the qualifying service period for paid parental leave (maternity, adoption, spousal or surrogacy) may still be entitled to unpaid parental leave in accordance with the Family Leave (Queensland Public Sector) Award - State 2004 (Family Leave Award) and/or the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld).

Employees ineligible to apply for paid parental leave include:

  • short-term casual employees who do not accrue an entitlement to paid sick leave
  • employees who are solely remunerated by fees, allowances or commission 
  • employees who are on unauthorised absence immediately before the start of the paid leave period
  • employees who do not have a period of unbroken employment of at least 12 months.

In addition to state government entitlements, employees may be entitled to Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme payments accessible through the Family Assistance Office.

Responsibilities

​Employees:

Manager/Principal:

  • approve leave in accordance with departmental delegations (DETE employees only)
  • understand an employee’s entitlement to paid and unpaid parental leave and access to other leave.
  • ensure requests for leave are dealt with in a reasonable manner.
  • provide timely advice of the approval to the employee. 
  • discuss the reasons for non-approval with the employee as soon as practicable. 
  • assess need for transfer to safe duties.
  • must take reasonable action to advise the employee who is absent from the workplace on parental leave about​ any decision to implement significant change at the workplace before it is implemented.
  • must inform the employee of the change and any effect it will have on the position the employee held before starting parental leave, including, for example, its status or the level of responsibility attaching to the position.
  • must give the employee a reasonable opportunity to discuss any significant effect the change will have on the employee’s position.  Discussions should take place if an employee’s former position will not be available on their return to work after parental leave.
  • must give a replacement employee a written notice informing the replacement employee of the temporary nature of the employment and the parent’s right to return to work before a replacement employee starts employment.

Processing officer (Payroll Services):

  • verify leave entitlements of employees
  • input leave application data into the human resource system (Education) and check computations
  • process Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave payments (if applicable)
  • act as the departmental contact for Family Assistance Office enquiries

Process

​Applying for leave (Employees)

Maternity Leave

  1. complete and submit an Application for Leave form (Education) or apply for leave via Aurion (Training) at least 4 weeks before the proposed start date of leave.
  2. the employee must provide their Manager/Principal at least 10 weeks before the expected birth of the child/children or, if the employee proposes to commence leave before the birth/date of confinement, 10 weeks before the date on which leave is to commence, notice of their intention to take leave. The 10 week period of notice that is required for parental leave may be shortened if the child is born before the expected date or if there are other compelling reasons.
  3. the application must indicate the starting and finishing dates of the leave applied for and be accompanied by:
    a. a certificate from a medical practitioner stating the employee is    pregnant and the expected date of birth of the child; and
    b. a statutory declaration by the employee stating:
         i. the period of parental leave to be taken by her spouse in relation to the pregnancy
         ii. they are the primary care giver during the leave.
  4. employees are to provide a written undertaking not to engage in conduct inconsistent with the employee’s terms of employment during the period of approved maternity leave.
  5. must notify the Department immediately and submit an amended leave application if there is a change in the expected date of birth of the child or in the particulars of maternity leave taken, or to be taken, or the starting and finishing dates of maternity leave.

Spousal Leave 

  1. provide their Manager/Principal at least 10 weeks before the expected birth of the child/children or, if the employee proposes to commence leave before the birth/date of confinement, 10 weeks before the date on which leave is to commence, notice of their intention to take leave. The 10 week period of notice that is required for parental leave may be shortened if the child is born before the expected date or if there are other compelling reasons.
  2. complete and submit an Application for Leave form (Education) or apply for leave via Aurion (Training) at least 4 weeks before the proposed start date of leave.
  3. the application must indicate the approximate starting and finishing dates of the leave applied for and be accompanied by:
    a. a certificate from a medical practitioner stating the name of the employee’s spouse and the expected date of birth of the child; and
    b. a written statement by the employee stating:
        i. the employee’s spouse’s name and particulars of maternity leave taken, or to be taken, by the spouse in relation to the pregnancy
        ii. they are the primary caregiver during the leave
        iii. if the child in relation to whom the application is made has been born, the child’s date of birth.
  4. employees are to provide a written undertaking not to engage in conduct inconsistent with the employee’s terms of employment during the period of approved spousal leave.
  5. must notify the Department immediately and submit an amended leave application if there is a change in the expected date of birth of the child or in the particulars of spousal leave taken, or to be taken, or the starting and finishing dates of spousal leave.

Adoption Leave 

  1. an employee who has applied to adopt a child, and intends applying for adoption leave should provide the Department with written notice of any approval to adopt a child at least 10 weeks before the expected date of placement of the child for adoption purposes.  
  2. consult the Department and complete an Application for Leave form (Education) or submit an application for leave via Aurion (Training), as soon as possible before the proposed period of adoption leave, but in any case at least 14 days before starting the leave.
  3. application must indicate the approximate starting and finishing dates of the leave applied for and be accompanied by:
    a. a written statement from the adoption agency confirming:
        i. the adoption of the child and expected placement date
    b. a statutory declaration by the employee stating:
        i. that the employee is to be the primary care giver for the child
        ii. particulars of adoption leave taken, or to be taken, by the employee’s spouse in relation to the child.
  4. employees are to provide a written undertaking not to engage in conduct inconsistent with the employee’s terms of employment during the period of approved adoption leave.
  5. must notify the Department immediately and submit an amended leave application if there is a change in the expected placement date or in the particulars of the adoption leave taken, or to be taken, or the starting and finishing dates of adoption leave.

Surrogacy Leave 

  1. an employee who is an intended parent under a surrogacy arrangement, and intends applying for surrogacy leave, should inform the Department at least 10 weeks before the expected date when a child is to start residing with the employee under the surrogacy arrangement.   
  2. complete an Application for Leave form (Education) or submit an application for leave via Aurion (Training), at least 14 days before the proposed period of surrogacy leave.
  3. the application must indicate the approximate starting and finishing dates of the leave applied for and be accompanied by a statutory declaration by the employee stating:
         the employee is an intended parent under a surrogacy arrangement
         the expected residence date
         that the employee is to be the primary care giver for the child
         particulars of surrogacy leave taken, or to be taken, by the employee’s spouse in relation to the child.
  4. employees are to provide a written undertaking not to engage in conduct inconsistent with the employee’s terms of employment during the period of approved surrogacy leave.
  5. must notify the Department immediately and submit an amended leave application if there is a change in the expected residence date or in the particulars of surrogacy leave taken, or to be taken, or the starting and finishing dates of surrogacy leave.

Pre-Natal, Pre-Adoption and Pre-Surrogacy Leave

  1. submit an Application for Leave form (Education) or apply for leave via Aurion (Training) for every absence for which pre-natal, pre-adoption or pre-surrogacy leave is sought.  Each absence on pre-natal, pre-adoption or pre-surrogacy leave must be supported by documentary evidence relating to the medical appointment, adoption or surrogacy appointment.
Please Note: Paid Pre-Natal, Pre-Adoption or Pre-Surrogacy leave is not available to an employee on unpaid leave.

Resumption of duty

  1. employees are to confirm their intention of returning to work by notice in writing at least four weeks prior to the expiration of the period of parental leave.
  2. submit a Commencement Advice form (CMA) upon resumption of duty after any type of leave without pay in excess of 9 working days. For part-time employees, a CMA is required after 2 calendar weeks or more without pay.

Extending a period of parental leave/Access to Part-Time Employment

Employees
  1. employees applying for extension of parental leave should consult with their Manager/Principal and complete an Application for Leave form (Education) or submit a leave application via Aurion (Training). 
  2. for an extension of parental leave, an application for extension of maternity leave, long spousal leave, long adoption leave or long surrogacy leave must be made at least 4 weeks before the leave ends.  An application for extension of short spousal leave, short adoption leave or short surrogacy leave must be made at least 2 business days before the leave ends.
  3. applications for part-time work should be made at least 7 weeks prior to parental leave finishing.
  4. application for extension of parental leave/access to part-time work should include the following:
    • state that it is an application for an extension of parental leave/to return to work on a part-time basis
    • state the dates that the extension/return to work on a part-time basis is to start and end
    • state the impact refusal of the application might have on the employee and the employee’s dependants
    • be accompanied by a statutory declaration by the employee stating that the employee is seeking to work on a part-time basis so the employee can continue to be the child’s primary caregiver when not at work.

Manager/Principal

  1. in deciding whether to approve an application to return to work on a part-time basis or extend the period of parental leave, the Manager/Principal must consider the following:
    a. the particular circumstances of the employee that give rise to the application, particularly circumstances relating to the employee’s role as the child’s caregiver
    b. the impact refusal of the application might have on the employee and the employee’s dependants
    c. the impact approval might have on the employees entitlements to any subsequent applications for leave
    d. the effect that agreeing to the application would have on the conduct of the Department’s business, including, for example:
        i. any additional cost the Department would incur
        ii. the capacity to reorganise work arrangements
        iii. the availability of competent replacement staff
        iv. any loss of efficiency in the conduct of the Department’s business
        v. the impact of the employee’s absence or temporary absence on the delivery of customer service.
  2. must not unreasonably refuse an application.  
  3. must advise the employee, in writing, of its decision within 14 days after receiving the application.  If the Department refuses the application, it must provide the employee with written reasons for refusing the application.

Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme (CPPL)

Employees
  1. discuss the intention to claim CPPL payments with their Manager/Principal to ensure the application is accurate.
  2. lodge a claim for CPPL with the Family Assistance Office.
  3. discuss and agree to any ‘keeping in touch’ activities with their Manager/Principal.
  4. advise payroll services of changes to banking details.
  5. advise and discuss with their Manager/Principal any request for an early return to work. 
  6. inform payroll services through their Manager/Principal and the Family Assistance Office of any agreed early return to work or notifiable events e.g. exceeding 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days.

Manager/Principal

  1. assist the employee with their application by providing details such as:
        a. date of commencement with the department
        b. relevant ABN
        c. secondment or temporary employment end date if it falls within the CPPL period
        d. payroll contact details for Family Assistance Office enquiries
  2. discuss and agree to any ‘keeping in touch’ activities
  3. discuss and agree to any requests for an early return to work
  4. advise payroll services of any early return to work or notifiable events e.g. exceeding 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days

Online Resources

Review Date

16/11/2013
Attribution CC BY

​Adoption leave
Leave taken by an employee at the time of the placement of an adopted child with the employee, or to enable the employee to be the child’s primary caregiver. 

Short Adoption Leave is leave taken by an employee at the time of the placement of an adopted child with the employee.

Long Adoption Leave is leave taken by an employee or by the spouse of an employee definitions.html who has adopted a child, to be the child’s primary caregiver.  It is also referred to as parental leave in the Family Leave Award.

Child
A ‘child’ under the provision of this procedure means:

In relation to maternity or spousal leave:

  • A child of the employee;
  • A child of the employee’s spouse;
    who is under 1 year of age.

In relation to adoption leave:

  1. a child under 5 years of age who is adopted by an employee; or
  2. a child placed with the employee and whom the employee has applied to adopt other than a child who:
    (A) has turned 5 years of age
    (B) is a child or stepchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse
    (C) has continuously resided with the employee for a period of 6 months before the day the employee applies for adoption leave.

In relation to surrogacy leave:

  • a child born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement.

Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave (CPPL) Scheme
The CPPL Scheme is an initiative of the federal government which will provide eligible working parents who take parental leave, with payments at the rate of the National Minimum Wage for up to 18 weeks.  The CPPL scheme does not provide an entitlement to parental leave and is independent of other state public service leave entitlements.  For further information on the scheme and to assess eligibility, employees should contact the Family Assistance Office.

Confinement
The birth of a child/children or the ending of the pregnancy in other circumstances, that occurs no earlier than 20 weeks before the expected date of birth.

Long term casual employee
In accordance with the definition provided in section 15A of the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld).  That is, a casual employee engaged by a particular employer, on a regular and systematic basis, for several periods of employment during a period of at least 1 year immediately before the employee seeks to access parental leave.

Maternity leave
Leave that a pregnant employee takes for the birth of her child; and/or to enable her to be the child’s primary caregiver.

Parental Leave
Paid or unpaid leave, including maternity leave, spousal leave, adoption leave or surrogacy leave.

Paid parental leave
Paid leave as provided in Ministerial Directive – Paid Parental Leave; including paid maternity leave, paid spousal leave, paid adoption leave, paid surrogacy leave, paid pre-natal leave, paid pre-adoption leave or paid pre-surrogacy leave.

Primary care giver
A person who assumes the principal role of providing care and attention to a child.

Replacement Employee
A replacement employee is a person who is specifically employed because an employee (the parent) starts parental leave or is transferred to a safe job, or is replacing an employee who is temporarily promoted or transferred to replace the parent.

Spouse of an employee
Includes a former spouse and a de facto spouse, including a spouse of the same sex as the employee.

Spousal leave
Short or long spousal leave taken by an employee, is leave taken in connection with the birth of a child of the employee’s spouse to enable the spouse to be the child’s primary caregiver.  It is also referred to as short or long parental leave in the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld).

Short spousal leave is leave taken by an employee, in connection with the birth of a child of the employee’s spouse, at the time of the birth of the child or the other termination of the pregnancy.  It is also referred to as short parental leave in the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld).

Long spousal leave is leave taken by an employee whose spouse gives birth, to enable the employee to be the child’s primary caregiver.  It is also referred to as long parental leave in the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (Qld).

Surrogacy arrangement
See the Surrogacy Act 2010 (Qld), section 7.

Surrogacy leave
Means long or short surrogacy leave. 

Short Surrogacy Leave is leave taken by an employee when a child born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement starts residing with the employee.

Long Surrogacy Leave is leave taken by an employee or by the spouse of an employee, to enable the employee to be the primary caregiver of a child born as a result of a surrogacy arrangement.  It is also referred to as parental leave in the Family Leave Award.