The 2020-24 public sector nurses and midwives enterprise bargaining agreement contains a number of important parental leave changes.
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 commenced on or after 1 April 2021 is entitled to 14 weeks paid parental leave, up from 10 weeks
An employee who takes short parental leave that commenced on or after 1 April 2021 will be entitled to two weeks paid parental leave, up from one week.
Paid parental leave is in addition to any relevant Commonwealth Government paid parental leave scheme).
WHEN AM I ELIGIBLE FOR PARENTAL LEAVE?
Full-time and part-time public sector nurses and midwives 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?
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 is a process to enable employees have service recognised for parental leave that included any part of the period between 1 November 2018 and 30 June 2020 (inclusive).
If you took parental leave during this time you may need to make an application (by 22 August 2022 – which is six months after the Fair Work Commission’s approval of the new EBA) to have your leave recognised as counting as service towards the accrual of long service leave.
Can I work for another employer while on parental leave from my main job?
There is nothing in your enterprise agreement, or elsewhere in law, that says that you cannot. Many members report picking up work, particularly during the unpaid component of parental leave, without any issues arising.
However, to be entitled to unpaid parental leave, an employee must have responsibility for the care of their child. Working for a different employer during parental leave may generate an argument about whether an employee still has responsibility for the care of their child.
In addition, employment contracts or local policy can include restrictions on working for another employer or as a contractor during employment. If you have a relevant policy, contract or letter of appointment, please send this through to ANMF so we can check it.
For the purposes of the government-funded paid parental leave, this ceases when you return to work for the first time after the birth or adoption of your child, this is the case if you have done paid work for one hour or more on a day (other than a keeping in touch day). Services Australia will not pay you any days remaining in your Paid Parental Leave period after you return to work. This rule is expected to change during 2023.
Can I come back to work with my employer while on parental leave?
If you and your employer agree, yes. Again, however this will jeopardise any remaining entitlement to government paid parental leave. At least until the anticipated changes later in 2023.
For more information read the ANMF Parental Leave Guide booklet