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Acknowledgement of Terms of Parental Leave Letter

Version 1.0 Updated 19 Mar 2018
Correspondence Manage

Who can use this correspondence?

This correspondence can be used by all employers throughout Australia, except the following excluded employers:

  • Non-constitutional corporation employers in Western Australia
  • State public sector employers (ie employees of a Minister, the Governor or the Crown); and
  • Local Government employers — except in Tasmania and Victoria.


Commentary

It is good practice for an employer to confirm with an employee who is going on parental leave (birth-related leave or adoption leave), the relevant dates of the leave, and the leave conditions. Some of the conditions may include contact during the leave period, requests for variations to the period of leave, and prohibition on other employment during the leave period. Some of the relevant conditions for eligible employees who take parental leave are detailed below.

Parental leave

Parental leave is dealt with comprehensively under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) including eligibility, minimum entitlements, calculation, notification, and documentation requirements. You should familiarise yourself with these requirements.

The provisions of the Act establish minimum conditions which cannot be excluded by an award, agreement, policy, or contract. The minimum entitlements under the Act prevail over any less generous entitlements which may be contained in an award, agreement, policy, or contract.

An employee will be eligible for parental leave if the employee has (or will have) completed at least 12 months’ continuous service with the employer, or if the employee is a ‘long term casual employee’, at the following relevant time:

  • for birth related leave — immediately before the expected date of birth of the child;
  • for adoption leave — immediately before the first day on which the adoption leave is taken or is proposed to be taken.


A ‘long term casual employee’ means a casual employee who has been engaged by the employer on a regular and systematic basis for a period (or periods) of at least 12 months and who, but for the birth or placement of the child, has a reasonable expectation of continuing engagement on a regular and systematic basis.

An eligible employee is entitled to up to 12 months' off work for unpaid parental leave. This includes any period(s) of authorised leave (such as annual leave and long service leave) and any period(s) taken by the employee’s spouse because of the pregnancy, birth of the child, or placement of the child.

In addition, an employee is entitled to request in writing an additional 12 months' leave to commence after the cessation of the first parental leave period. That is, an employee may request up to 24 months off in total for unpaid parental leave – however, a request may not be made until close to the cessation of the first parental leave period. An employer is required to consider the request and may only refuse on ‘reasonable business grounds’.

Obligations while the employee is on parental leave

If the employer makes a decision that will have a significant effect on the status, pay or location of the employee’s pre-parental leave position, the employer is required to take all reasonable steps to give an employee who is on parental leave information about, and an opportunity to discuss, the effect of that decision while the employee is on the period of parental leave.

Return to work following parental leave

An employee who has taken parental leave is entitled on their return to work, to return:

  • to the position he/she held immediately before starting the period of leave (the pre-parental leave position);
  • to a position he/she was promoted to or voluntarily transferred to during the leave;
  • if the pre-parental leave position no longer exists, the employee is entitled to return to another available position for which the employee is qualified and suited that is nearest in status and pay to the pre-parental leave position;
  • if the pregnant employee was transferred to a safe job or started working reduced hours because of the pregnancy, to the position she held immediately before the transfer or the reduction in work hours.


We recommend that you have a Parental Leave Policy in place to accompany the acknowledgement of terms of parental leave letter.

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