Having a baby? There’s a lot to consider before you bring a child into the world, and one of the biggest concerns is income. If you are employed, you may be entitled to parental leave by Australian law. Make sure that you are aware of your maternity leave and paternity leave rights.
Who is entitled to maternity leave?
If you have been employed in your role for 12 months by the time of your expected due date, you are eligible for 12 months’ parental leave. Not all of this will be paid, but you can request for a further 12 months leave once your first year is up.
Who is entitled to paternity leave?
If you have a baby, or your spouse has a baby, you can receive paternity leave. If you adopt a child younger than 16 years of age, you can also receive the leave.
Having another baby
If you are on maternity leave and during the 12 months you fall pregnant again, you don’t have to go back to work for another 12 months to get more maternity leave – it is your right to receive another period of maternity leave with the same employer.
Parental leave pay
You are entitled to receive up to 18 weeks of pay when you go on parental leave. You will receive $657 a week before tax (as at 1 July 2015), which is the minimum wage. It will either be paid by your employer or the government.
Your employer doesn’t have to keep on paying your superannuation at this time, but they might choose to do so.
Being unfairly dismissed because of pregnancy
If you believe that you lost your job because you informed your employer that you were pregnant, you need to contact the Fair Work Commission immediately. You have 21 days to lodge a complaint.
If you think there has been an error in processing your pay, parental leave, or the process of going back to work, you can speak to your employer to resolve the problem initially. You may contact the Fair Work Commission if you are struggling to resolve the issue.