The new public sector nurses and midwives enterprise bargaining agreement contains a number of important parental leave changes.
Following ANMF’s advocacy, members have had access to new entitlements relating to length of parental leave, improved paid parental leave and superannuation payments from the dates in the draft 2020-24 EBA.
In June 2021 the Victorian Government authorised an administrative implementation of the new entitlements pending a ballot of all eligible employees and final Fair Work Commission approval – which have been delayed by a dispute. These final steps will make the EBA document legally enforceable.
TAKING OR EXTENDING A PERIOD OF LONG PARENTAL LEAVE
Parental leave may be taken by either, or both, members of an employee couple, however long parental leave (that taken by the primary carer) must be taken contemporaneously with the birth, adoption or placement of the child.
There is now an automatic right for an employee on long parental leave to extend that leave by up to another 52 weeks (therefore a maximum of 104 weeks) provided you notify your employer as soon as possible but not less than four weeks before the end date of the original leave period.
If you take 104 weeks of parental leave, you can take up to 20 ‘keeping in touch’ days during your leave.
How many paid parental leave weeks can I take?
An employee whose long parental leave commences on or after 1 April 2021 will be entitled to 14 weeks paid parental leave, up from 10 weeks for leave that commences on or before 31 March 2021.
An employee who takes short parental leave that commences on or after 1 April 2021 will be entitled to two weeks paid parental leave, up from one week for leave that commences on or before 31 March 2021.
Paid parental leave is in addition to any relevant Commonwealth Government paid parental leave scheme).
When am I eligible for parental leave?
Under the draft EBA, full-time and part-time public sector nurses and midwives, and are eligible for the parental leave entitlements after six months continuous service instead of 12 months. Eligible casual employees remain eligible after 12 months.
Will I receive superannuation contributions while on parental leave?
Up to 1 July 2021, superannuation contributions were only made while you are on paid parental leave. From 1 July 2021, you will receive super contributions throughout parental leave including the unpaid component.
These contributions will be calculated by your employer using the superannuation contributions made over the 26 pay periods preceding the commencement of your parental leave, dividing that by 52, and making that payment for each week you are on parental leave (adjusted for any wage increases that occur during that time).
Unlike the increases in paid parental leave, this applies to each week of parental leave that occurs after 1 July 2021, even you commenced that leave before 1 July 2021.
Does parental leave count towards my long service leave?
Parental leave taken after 1 November 2018 (yes 2018) whether paid or unpaid will count as service towards long service leave. This includes parental leave that is extended for up to 104 weeks.
Because this date precedes the formal making of the new EBA, there will be a process to enable employees to apply to have service recognised for parental leave that included any part of the period between 1 November 2018 and 30 June 2020 (inclusive). This application must be made within six months of the new EBA being approved by the Fair Work Commission, or the date on which the employee returns to work after parental leave, whichever occurs last.
This also applies to an employee in respect of a former employer who is named in the EBA (i.e. public sector employers) if the employee took a period of parental leave while employed by that former employer that included any part of the period between 1 November 2018 and 30 June 2020 (inclusive).
ANMF will provide details of how to make the application for parental leave between 1 November 2018 and 30 June 2020 to count towards long service leave once the EBA is approved by the Fair Work Commission.