Manual of Policies and Procedures

B/6.6 Parental leave

Contact Officer

Associate Director, Human Resources (Workplace Relations)

Approval Date

14/06/2016

Approval Authority

Vice-Chancellor and President

Date of Next Review

01/06/2019

6.6.1 Application
6.6.2 Definitions
6.6.3 Parental leave
6.6.4 Maternity, primary carer parental, and/or unpaid parental leave
6.6.5 Partner leave, primary carer parental leave and/or unpaid parental leave
6.6.6 Adoption leave
6.6.7 Parental leave for casual professional and sessional academic staff
6.6.8 General conditions of parental leave
6.6.9 Returning to work
Related Documents
Modification History

6.6.1 Application

This policy applies to all staff.

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6.6.2 Definitions

“Adoption leave” means leave taken in association with the placement of a child with the staff member for adoption.

“Continuous service” means a period of unbroken service. A staff member's service will be deemed to be unbroken provided that the time between ceasing employment and recommencing employment with the University does not exceed three (3) months.

"Keeping in touch day" means a day a staff member may attend work and undertake activities for the purposes of staying up to date with their workplace, refreshing their skills and assisting in their return to work, in line with the Federal Government requirements.

“Maternity leave” means leave taken in association with the staff member giving birth to a child.

“Partner” means spouse (including a former spouse, de facto spouse, former de facto spouse, same sex partner and former same sex partner) of the person who gives birth or, in the case of adoption leave, of the person who is nominated as the primary carer.

“Partner leave” means short-term leave taken by staff in association with their spouse or de facto partner giving birth to, or adopting a child.

“Primary carer parental leave” means leave taken where the staff member has or will have primary responsibility for the care of their own, or their spouse’s new born child.

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6.6.3 Parental leave

(a) Parental leave includes paid and unpaid leave associated with the birth of a staff member’s child or placement of a child with the staff member, comprising maternity leave, partner leave, primary carer parental leave, unpaid parental leave and adoption leave. 

(b) Parental leave, excluding partner and primary carer parental leave, must commence before the medically certified expected date of birth, date of adoption or commencement of a long-term fostering or guardianship arrangement.

(c) Parental leave (paid and unpaid) must be completed within two years after the actual date of birth, adoption or commencement of the long-term fostering or guardianship arrangement. All paid parental leave must be completed within the first 52 weeks of the two year period. A staff member on primary carer parental leave or unpaid parental leave may initially apply for a maximum period of 52 weeks parental leave, although this may be extended for a further period of up to 52 weeks unpaid parental leave. 

(d) Parental leave will normally be available as one continuous period with the exception of 'keeping in touch' days which may be accessed where the staff member meets the relevant eligibility criteria in line with Federal Government requirements (B/6.6.8(c)). Shorter, non-continuous periods of leave may be available in special circumstances as outlined in the Parental Leave Guidelines.

(e) The University will not refuse employment or dismiss a staff member, or take any other action that disadvantages a staff member on the grounds of pregnancy, possible pregnancy, a request for parental leave, or a possible request for parental leave.

(f) Procedures for applying and taking leave, including notice and documentation requirements, are contained in the Parental Leave Guidelines. Staff are required to comply with these procedures in order to access parental leave.

(g) Federal Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme
A staff member may be entitled to access the Federal Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme which is separate to the University’s parental leave entitlements as outlined in this policy. The Federal Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme is comprised of Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay.

A staff member accessing the Federal Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme is not restricted from also accessing parental leave at QUT. For further information regarding the Federal Government’s scheme, please contact the Department of Human Services.

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6.6.4 Maternity, primary carer, and/or unpaid parental leave

(a) A staff member (excluding casual professional and sessional academic staff) who gives birth to a child is eligible for parental leave in the form of paid maternity leave, paid primary carer parental leave, and/or unpaid parental leave as follows:

QUT Continuous Service

Paid Leave Entitlement

Unpaid Leave Entitlement

12 months

26 weeks paid parental leave comprising:

  • 12 weeks paid maternity leave
  • 14 weeks paid primary carer parental  leave

52 weeks less any period of paid parental leave taken.

Between 9 and 12 months

12 weeks paid parental leave comprising:

  • 6 weeks paid maternity leave
  • 6 weeks paid primary carer parental leave

52 weeks less any period of paid parental leave taken.

Less than 9 months

nil

52 weeks

Staff employed on a part-time basis are eligible for parental leave paid on a proportional basis of the full-time entitlement.

Staff are entitled to access a further period of unpaid parental leave of up to 52 weeks (B/6.6.8(d)).

(b) Other leave

It is not intended that sick / carer’s leave will be used to duplicate, replace or extend parental leave. However, prior to taking parental leave, sick / carer’s leave, personal leave or recreation leave can be used for medical appointments or illness directly related to the pregnancy.

(c) Transfer to suitable position

Where a staff member 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 staff member make it inadvisable for the staff member to continue at her present work, the staff member will, if the authorising officer deems it practicable, be transferred to a suitable position at the same rate of pay and on the same conditions until the commencement of parental leave.

If the transfer to a suitable position is not practicable the staff member may elect to commence parental leave.

 (d) Special circumstances for paid maternity leave

After 16 weeks of pregnancy have elapsed, the staff member shall be entitled to 12 weeks paid maternity leave (if the staff member is entitled to paid leave) regardless of the outcome of the pregnancy, for example, if a pregnancy terminates by miscarriage or still birth. If a pregnancy terminates before 16 weeks, the staff member can use other leave credits such as personal leave, sick / carer's leave and/or recreation leave.

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6.6.5 Partner leave, primary carer parental leave and/or unpaid parental leave

(a) A staff member (excluding casual professional and sessional academic staff) whose partner gives birth to a child is eligible for parental leave in the form of paid partner leave, unpaid partner leave (which can be taken to facilitate Dad and Partner Pay), paid primary carer parental leave, and/or unpaid parental leave, subject to the following:

QUT Continuous Service

Paid Leave Entitlement

Unpaid Leave Entitlement

12 months

16 weeks paid parental leave comprising:

  • 10 days paid partner leave
  • 14 weeks paid primary carer parental leave

52 weeks less any period of paid parental leave taken.

Between 9 and 12 months

7 weeks paid parental leave comprising:

  • 5 days paid partner leave
  • 6 weeks paid primary carer parental leave

52 weeks less any period of paid leave taken.

Less than 9 months

nil

52 weeks

Staff employed on a part-time basis are eligible for parental leave paid on a proportional basis of the full-time entitlement.

Staff are entitled to access a further period of unpaid parental leave of up to 52 weeks (B/6.6.8(d)).

(b) Primary Carer Parental Leave

Primary carer parental leave entitlement is reduced by any paid parental leave in excess of 12 weeks (excluding payments under the Federal Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme) accessed by their partner who is not a QUT staff member.

(c) Unpaid parental leave

In addition to paid partner and primary carer parental leave, staff who become the carer of a new child are entitled to unpaid parental leave so that the total period of leave is no more than 24 months. 

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6.6.6 Adoption leave

(a) Adoption leave is granted to eligible staff who become the primary carer for a new child and comprises both paid leave and unpaid leave.

QUT Continuous Service

Paid Leave Entitlement

Unpaid Leave Entitlement

12 months

26 weeks paid adoption leave

52 weeks less any period of paid parental leave taken.

Between 9 and 12 months

12 weeks paid adoption leave

52 weeks less any period of paid parental leave taken.

Less than 9 months

Nil

52 weeks

Staff are entitled to access a further period of unpaid parental leave of up to 52 weeks (B/6.6.8(d)).

(b) Eligible staff (excluding casual professional and sessional academic staff) may also be entitled to parental leave, consistent with B/6.6.5 above. Upon successful adoption, this leave may be used for any event directly related to the placement of the child.

(c) Where the placement of a child for adoption with a staff member does not proceed or continue, the staff member will notify the University immediately and the University will nominate a time at least four weeks from receipt of notification for the staff member's return to work.  

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6.6.7 Parental leave for casual professional and sessional academic staff

A casual or sessional staff member may be eligible for unpaid parental leave if the staff member has been employed on a regular and systematic basis for a continuous period of employment for the period of at least 12 months prior to commencement of leave. An eligible casual or sessional staff member with primary carer responsibilities is entitled to a maximum of 24 months unpaid parental leave.

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6.6.8 General conditions of parental leave

 (a) Payment

The salary received for paid parental leave is the normal salary paid to the staff member immediately prior to the commencement of leave (exclusive of higher duties allowance). The method and calculation of paid parental leave will occur in accordance with the Parental Leave Guidelines.

(b) General conditions

(i) For the purposes of parental leave, continuous service is calculated as at the first commencement date of parental leave, or the date of birth of the child, date of adoption or commencement of a long-term fostering or guardianship arrangement, whichever is earlier.

(ii) If a staff member applies for a period of paid  or unpaid parental leave for a subsequent new child whilst already on unpaid parental leave, the new period of leave supersedes the initial period of leave granted and will not be in addition to that leave.

(iii) The University is not required to extend a fixed-term, casual or sessional appointment solely by reason of a period of paid or unpaid parental leave.

(iv) Staff on probation will have their probation period suspended by any period of extended leave.

(c) 'Keeping in touch' days

Up to 10 'keeping in touch' days may be accessed when the staff member is in receipt of entitlements under the Federal Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme, or when the staff member is on unpaid parental leave from the University, in accordance with this policy. The purpose of a 'keeping in touch' day is to enable the staff member to keep in touch with their employment in order to facilitate a return to work, in line with the Federal Government requirements.

Where it is mutually agreed between the staff member and the authorising officer, a staff member may attend work for up to 10 days for the purposes of keeping in touch in line with Federal Government requirements. Where a staff member extends their unpaid parental leave (B/6.6.8(d)), they are eligible to access an additional 10 'keeping in touch' days.

(d) Additional unpaid parental leave

A staff member who has accessed their full entitlement to parental leave (52 weeks) may apply to extend their period of unpaid leave up to a further, maximum period of, 52 weeks. The University may only refuse such an application on reasonable business grounds, and this must be discussed with the staff member prior to refusal.

(e) Limit on two QUT staff members who share the primary care of a new child

Where two QUT staff members, who have both been employed by the University for a minimum of 12 months, share the care of a new child, the combined paid and unpaid leave limit for both parents to share is 24 months of which up to a maximum of 26 weeks is paid leave. The paid leave must occur within the first 12 months of the 24 month period.

(f) Subsequent periods of paid parental leave

A staff member is eligible to subsequent periods of parental leave in accordance with the eligibility criteria outlined within this policy. Parental leave is an individual entitlement and there is no restriction on the number of times a staff member may access paid and/or unpaid parental leave. Previous paid and/or unpaid parental leave is treated as continuous service for the purpose of determining eligibility for subsequent periods of paid/unpaid parental leave. The calculation of a paid parental leave entitlement is in accordance with the Parental Leave Guidelines.

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6.6.9 Returning to work

(a) A staff member will be entitled to return to the position which they held immediately before commencing parental leave. Where this position no longer exists but there are other positions available which the staff member is qualified for and capable of performing, the staff member will be entitled to a position as nearly comparable in status and pay to that of their former position.

(b) Transfer to suitable position

In the case of a staff member transferred to a suitable position, pursuant to B/6.6.4(d) above, the staff member will be entitled to return to the position held immediately before such transfer.

(c) Early return to work options

With the agreement of the University, a staff member may elect to return to work earlier than the expected end date of their parental leave. This request may also come from the University, provided the staff member no longer has responsibility to care for a child and 4 week's written notice is given. Where a mother has given birth, the date of return may be no earlier than 6 weeks after the date of birth.

In special circumstances, for example still birth, the staff member may request to return to work earlier than the expected end date of their parental leave by written request and within 4 weeks of providing notice. Alternatively, this request may come from the University provided at least 6 weeks' written notice is given.

(d) Flexible return to work options

A staff member who has responsibility for the care of a child may request flexible working arrangements. The University will only refuse such a request on reasonable business grounds. This may include part-time work for a period agreed between the staff member and supervisor, with the option for the staff member to revert to their former employment arrangement at the end of the agreed period.

Procedures for applying for flexible work arrangements are contained in the Parental Leave Guidelines.

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Related Documents

MOPP A/8.4 Equal opportunity and diversity

MOPP B/6.1 Staff leave

MOPP B/6.5 Leave without pay

MOPP Appendix 3 - Schedule of Authorities and Delegations

QUT Enterprise Agreement (Academic Staff) (QUT staff access only)

QUT Enterprise Agreement (Professional Staff) (QUT staff access only)

Senior staff employment arrangements (QUT staff access only)

Parental Leave Guidelines (QUT staff access only)

Department of Human Services

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Modification History

Date

Sections

Source

Details

14.06.16 All Vice-Chancellor Revised policy
31.10.13 B/6.6.4 Vice-Chancellor Revised policy to amend the special circumstances for paid maternity leave
19.03.13 All Vice-Chancellor Revised policy to incorporate changes to legislation

27.10.11

All

Vice-Chancellor

Periodic review - Policy revised

20.08.08

B/6.6.3

Vice-Chancellor

Revised policy to clarify maternity leave entitlement following a period of leave without pay

17.11.05

All

Vice-Chancellor

New policy

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