Parental Leave Procedure


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Intent

To outline the process for applying for parental leave.

Scope

This Procedure applies to all staff who are employed under the James Cook University Enterprise Agreement (the Agreement).

Definitions

Initial Primary Care Giver – is the person who is the primary carer at the placement of an adopted child.

Primary Care Giver – is either parent, but for the purpose of this definition, not the birth mother.

Partner – the Partner of the Birth Mother, or Partner of the Initial Primary Carer Giver.

Surrogate Mother – a woman who is pregnant for the purpose of carrying a baby to term for another parent/s, including for adoption.

Birth Mother – a woman who gives birth to the child.

Table of Contents

  1. Paid Maternity Leave
  2. Paid Maternity Leave in the Event of Miscarriage/Stillbirth
  3. Unpaid Maternity Leave in the Event of Miscarriage/Stillbirth
  4. Paid Adoption Leave
  5. Unpaid Adoption Leave
  6. Paid Surrogacy Leave
  7. Paid Partner Leave
  8. Change of Primary Carer Leave
  9. Transfer to a safe job
  10. Consultation on change while on parental leave
  11. Keeping in Touch while on parental leave
  12. Return to work following parental leave

Procedure

1. Paid Maternity Leave

1.1  Staff (excluding casuals) who have at least 12 months’ continuous service at the University prior to the commencement of parental leave or the date of birth or adoption of a child under school age, are entitled to paid parental leave.

1.2  Casual Staff who have at least 12 months’ continuous service at the University and Staff who do not have 12 months continuous service at the University prior to the commencement of parental leave or the date of birth or adoption of a child under school age, are entitled to unpaid leave.

1.3  Period of Leave Less than 12 months:

Where the Birth Mother proposes to take up to and including 12 months' leave from the workplace the Birth Mother is entitled to either:

a)  Full time staff (other than casual) are entitled to up to 26 weeks’ continuous paid parental leave, commencing no later than the birth of the child (or 52 weeks on 50% of salary); or; Where a staff member is on a fixed term contract the entitlement to leave will cease on the day their fixed term contract expires.

b)  Up to 20 weeks’ continuous leave commencing no later than the birth of the child (or 40 weeks on 50% of salary) and 1 day per week of paid leave for the first 30 weeks after the staff member returns to work.

Part time staff are entitled to pro rata leave.

Unpaid leave will otherwise be provided under the Fair Work Act.

1.4  Period of Leave over 12 months:

Where the Birth Mother proposes to take more than 12 months’ leave from the workplace the Birth Mother is entitled to:

a)  26 weeks’ paid continuous leave from the date of the birth of the child.

b)  The 26 weeks leave may be taken on full pay or 52 weeks on 50% of salary.

Unpaid leave will otherwise be provided under the Fair Work Act.

Step

Action

1.

Discuss the intended leave with your current supervisor.

2.

Apply for the leave on the request for parental leave form at least 10 weeks’ prior to the start of the leave. The application is to be submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

A medical certificate attesting to the pregnancy and the date or birth or expected date of birth is required.

Any changes to the proposed start and end dates should occur no more than 4 weeks prior to the expected commencement of leave or as soon as possible where notice cannot be provided (i.e. premature birth).

3.

Should the birth mother wish to apply for a period of unpaid leave, an application for the further period of leave without pay, should be submitted no later than 4 weeks prior to the end of the paid parental leave entitlement. The application is to be submitted on the request for parental leave form and submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

The request for unpaid leave may be refused on reasonable business grounds.

2. Pregnancy resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth

2.1  A birth mother is entitled to six weeks paid leave in the event of a pregnancy of at least 20 weeks ends in miscarriage or still birth. Unpaid leave will otherwise be provided under the Fair Work Act.

Step

Action

1.

As soon as practicable following the miscarriage/stillbirth apply for the leave on the request for parental leave form. The application is to be submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

A medical certificate is required.

2.2  A birth mother is entitled to personal and carer’s leave and/or unpaid leave in the event a pregnancy not reaching 20 weeks gestation ends in miscarriage or stillbirth.

Step

Action

1.

As soon as practicable following the miscarriage/stillbirth apply for the appropriate leave (e.g. personal and carers leave or unpaid leave) in JCU’s leave booking system.

A medical certificate is required.

3. Adoption Leave

3.1  Staff who have adopted a child aged under 5 years are entitled to paid Adoption Leave.

3.2  Period of Leave Less than 12 months

Where the parent who is the Initial Primary Care Giver proposes to take up to 12 months’ leave from the workplace the Initial Primary Care Giver is entitled to either:

a)  Up to 26 weeks’ continuous paid Adoption Leave, taken no later than the placement of the child (52 weeks on 50% of salary); or

b)  Up to 20 weeks’ continuous leave taken no later than the placement of the child (or 40 weeks on 50% of salary) and 1 day per week of paid leave for the first 30 weeks after the staff member returns to work.

Unpaid leave will otherwise be provided under the Fair Work Act.

3.3  Period of Leave over 12 months

Where the Initial Primary Care Giver proposes taking more than 12 months’ leave from the workplace the Initial Primary Care Giver is entitled to:

a)  26 weeks’ paid continuous leave from the placement of the child.

b)  The 26 weeks’ leave may be taken on full pay or 52 weeks on 50% of salary.

Unpaid leave will otherwise be provided under the Fair Work Act.

Step

Action

1.

Discuss the intended leave with your current supervisor.

2.

Apply for the leave on the request for parental leave form at least 10 weeks prior to the start of the leave. The application is to be submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

A statement from the appropriate government authority about the adoption confirming the adoption and that the child is under the age of 5 at the time of placement is required.

3.

Should the primary carer wish to apply for a period of unpaid leave, an application for the further period of leave without pay, should be submitted no later than 4 weeks prior to the end of the paid maternity leave entitlement. The application is to be submitted on the request for parental leave form and submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

The request for unpaid leave may be refused on reasonable business grounds.

3.4  Staff who have adopted a child aged between 5 and 16 years are entitled to unpaid Adoption Leave.

Step

Action

1.

Discuss the intended leave with your current supervisor.

2.

Apply for the leave on the request for parental leave form at least 10 weeks prior to the start of the leave. The application is to be submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

A statement from the appropriate government authority confirming the adoption is required.

3.

Should the primary carer wish to apply for a period of unpaid leave, an application for the further period of leave without pay, should be submitted no later than 4 weeks prior to the end of the paid maternity leave entitlement. The application is to be submitted on the request for parental leave form and submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

The request for unpaid leave may be refused on reasonable business grounds.

4. Paid Surrogacy Leave

4.1  Surrogate mothers are entitled to take up to 12 weeks’ paid Surrogacy Leave.

4.2  Paid Surrogacy Leave may commence up to 6 weeks prior to the expected birth of the child.

4.3  The entitlement to Paid Surrogacy Leave ceases 6 weeks after the birth of the child.

Step

Action

1.

Discuss the intended leave with your current supervisor.

2.

Apply for the leave on the request for parental leave form at least 10 weeks prior to the start of the leave. The application is to be submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

A medical certificate attesting to the pregnancy and the date or birth or expected date of birth is required.

5. Paid Partner Leave

5.1  A partner is entitled to 5 days’ paid leave to be taken within the 7-week period which starts a week before the expected date of birth or placement and concludes 6 weeks after the birth.

5.2  Paid Partner Leave may occur simultaneously with Paid Parental Leave or Paid Adoption/Surrogacy Leave.

5.3  Unpaid leave will otherwise be provided under the Fair Work Act.

Step

Action

1.

Discuss the intended leave with your current supervisor.

2.

Apply for the leave on the request for parental leave form at least 4 weeks prior to the start of the leave. The application is to be submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

For the birth of the staff member’s own child or surrogacy: a medical certificate attesting to the pregnancy and the date or birth or expected date of birth is required.

For adoption: a statement from the appropriate government authority about the adoption confirming the adoption and that the child is under the age of 5 at the time of placement.

6. Change of Primary Care Giver Leave

6.1  Paid Parental Leave may be shared between Staff Members who are partners and both work at the University where:

a)  Both staff members have 12 months’ continuous service at the date of commencement of parental or adoption leave; and

b)  The primary caregiver responsibilities are shared.

6.2  Where a Staff Member and their partner who is also a University Staff Member share the entitlement to paid Parental or Adoption Leave (up to 26 weeks), this will not reduce the entitlement to one weeks paid Partner Leave available to the Staff Member who is not the Birth Mother.

6.3  Where a Staff Member couple elect to share a period of Parental Leave (paid), the leave must:

a)  For the couple, not exceed an aggregate of 26 weeks*.

b)  The staff member and their partner must take the leave in a single unbroken period.

c)  The first staff member must have commenced Parental Leave no later than the birth of the child or the placement of the child in the case of adoption.

d)  Apart from the period of Paid Partner Leave, both parents must take leave in separate, continuous periods.

6.4  The partner who has become Primary Care Giver may apply to take a further 12 months leave without pay, extending the period of leave up until the child reaches the age of two in accordance with the Fair Work Act.

6.5  *A staff member’s entitlement to parental leave is reduced by any period of parental leave taken by their partner in respect of birth or adoption of the same child. This excludes the period of 5 days partner leave.

Step

Action

1.

Discuss the intended leave with your current supervisor.

2.

Apply for the leave on the request for parental leave form at least 8 weeks prior to the start of the leave. The application is to be submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

The partner is required to provide evidence of the change to the primary carer status.  Appropriate evidence includes: a letter from the initial primary carer/ birth mother’s employer confirming return to work and/or statutory declarations from both parents confirming the change to the caring arrangements.

3.

Should the primary carer wish to apply for a period of unpaid leave, an application for the further period of leave without pay, should be submitted no later than 4 weeks prior to the end of the paid maternity leave entitlement. The application is to be submitted on the request for parental leave form and submitted to the HR Remuneration Services team via Service Now.

The request for unpaid leave may be refused on reasonable business grounds.

7. Transfer to a Safe Job

7.1  Where illness or risks arising out of pregnancy or hazards connected with the work make it inadvisable for a pregnant staff member to continue in her current position, and it is supported by appropriate medical evidence, the staff member will be entitled to be transferred to a safe job for the duration of the risk period that has:

a)  the same ordinary hours of work as the staff members substantive position;

b)  a different number of ordinary hours agreed to by the staff member; or

c)  placed on paid special leave for the duration of the risk period, at the staff member’s base rate of pay for the ordinary hours of work in the risk period.

7.2  If the staff members pregnancy ends before the end of the risk period, the risk period ends when the pregnancy ends.

Step

Action

1.

Seek medical advice and provide a medical certificate/report to your supervisor.

2.

Discuss alternative work options with your supervisor.

3.

Notify HR of any changes to location or supervisor and, if agreed, to working hours.

8. Consultation on Change While on Parental Leave

8.1  Where the University proposes to introduce major changes that are likely to impact on a Staff Member’s position while they are on parental leave the University will:

a)  provide the staff member with information about the change; and

b)  consult with the Staff Member regarding the impact of the proposed change on the Staff Member’s position in accordance with provisions of Clause 42 of the Agreement, Change Management and Consultation.

Step

Action

1.

The University will contact the staff member and provide them with information about the change.

2.

Where the staff member chooses to attend the workplace for consultation meetings they will have access to payment for this time under keeping in touch days.

3.

The University will advise the staff member of the outcome of the change.

9. Keeping in Touch Days

9.1  Where agreement between the University and the staff member has been reached, a staff member may participate in up to 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days, at any time after six weeks from the child’s date of birth or placement.

9.2  The staff member will be paid at their ordinary hourly rate for this time. Keeping in touch days will count as service for all purposes, extends the period of paid parental leave but does not extend the total period of parental leave.

9.3  A paid work activity of 1 hour or more on a day for the purpose of Keeping in Touch counts as 1 Keeping in Touch day, and counts towards the 10 day limit.

9.4  Activities could include, but aren’t limited to:

  • participating in a planning meeting;
  • performing on the job training; or
  • performing work to become familiar with the workplace or your role before returning to work.

9.5  Keeping in touch days cannot be used to perform normal work activities.

Step

Action

1.

Agree a schedule of Keeping in Touch Days with your supervisor.

2.

Apply for the leave in JCU’s leave booking system.

10. Return to Work Following Parental Leave

10.1  Staff are guaranteed to return to work immediately following a period of parental leave entitling them to:

  • Their pre-parental leave position; or
  • If that position no longer exists, the University will manage the placement of the staff member in accordance with the provisions of Clause 43, Redeployment and Redundancy.

10.2  Full-time staff are entitled to return to work on a part-time basis.  A return to work on a part-time basis should not exceed two years from date of resuming duties. The staff member shall be entitled to return to the position held before commencing parental leave, by giving 8 weeks’ notice.

10.3  Staff are not able to return to work within 6 weeks of giving birth without medical clearance.

Step

Action

1.

A staff member must give  at least 8 weeks’ notice to their supervisor of their intention to return from parental leave earlier than the date specified on their parental leave application.

2.

Where a staff member wishes to return to work in a part time capacity they must apply to vary their hours at least 8 weeks prior to returning to work.

The Supervisor will respond to the request at least 6 weeks before the staff members’ intended return to work date.

3.

All staff should confirm their return to work arrangements with their supervisor at least 4 weeks prior to their return to work.

11. Request for Flexible Work Arrangements

11.1  An eligible staff member, who has responsibility for the care of a child, may request a flexible working arrangement, including to work part-time. The University will consider the request taking into account the effect on the workplace and will only refuse the request on reasonable business grounds.

Step

Action

1.

The staff member should discuss with their supervisor of their intention to apply for a flexible working arrangement.

2.

Where a staff member wishes to request flexible working arrangements they must apply using the Individual Flexibility Agreement Application.

The Supervisor will respond to the request within two weeks.

Related policy instruments

Related policy instruments include but are not limited to the following documents. Further related instruments can be found at the University's Human Resources website.

James Cook University’ Enterprise Agreement

Schedules/Appendices

Nil

Administration

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Version no.

18-1

Date for next review

25/04/2021

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

18-1

25/04/2018

25/05/2018

Procedure established

Deputy Director, Human Resources

Keywords

Parental leave, maternity leave, partner leave, adoption leave, surrogacy leave, miscarriage leave, stillbirth leave