Planning on Returning to Work after Parental Leave?

Posted on 05 January 2012

Since the introduction of the Fair Work Act employees in Australia now have better Parental Leave rights and protections.

Australia also recently became one of the first developed nations to introduce a paid parental leave scheme. Despite these great developments, sex discrimination and inequality in employment are still rife in some workplaces. Whilst most people believe that they can take time off to have a child and return on the same conditions and be well treated this does not always seem to be a reality.

This has been demonstrated by a case which is currently being brought before Fair Work Australia involving a former Finance Manager employed with the Commonwealth Bank who is alleging that the bank failed to guarantee her position when she went on maternity leave as well as failing to consult with her on plans to make changes to her position. Pursuant to the Fair Work Act 2009 these two requirements must be complied with.

In a nut shell the parental entitlements an employee of more than 12 months services has are:

  • 12 months of unpaid parental leave
  • a right to request a further period of up to 12 month unpaid parental leave
  • unpaid special maternity leave
  • a right to transfer to a safe job in appropriate cases or take paid ‘no safe job leave’
  • employer consultation requirements
  • a return to work guarantee
  • a right to request flexible working arrangements
  • unpaid pre-adoption leave

So if you plan on returning to work in the same role after parental leave you should make yourself aware of your rights and the obligations of your employer.

If you are unsure about your rights to return to work after parental leave or you are experiencing difficulty with your employer about your return to work plans please contact us.