Maternity Leave: 7 things you need to know

15032_0455Maternity leave seems to be one of those areas that cause a great deal of confusion for supervisors and line managers. It even seems to cause confusion for those working in HR departments. And of course the confusion hasn’t been helped by the confusion about what has or hasn’t happened in our federal parliament.

But here is what you need to know about maternity leave:

  1. Despite the efforts of former Treasurer, Joe Hockey, to wind back the maternity leave program introduced by Labor, the Senate did not support the legislation. In fact the legislation has been languishing in the Senate since it was introduced with the Coalition unable to get the support required to pass it. And it is unlikely to be supported by the new Senate. It is also important to remember that there is no such thing as “double dipping” when it comes to maternity leave. The entire system was set up to ensure that women were able to take the leave entitlement and where employers were unable to afford the full entitlement then the government funds the gap.
  2. You can access paid maternity leave if you have or will complete at least 12 months continuous service and you’re a full-time, part-time or an eligible casual employee (eligibility is based on whether you have been regularly and systematically employed during a period of at least 12 months).
  3. You are entitled to 10 weeks paid maternity leave and a total combined paid and unpaid leave of 52 weeks.
  4. You are entitled to work up until the estimated date of birth unless doing so would present a risk to you or the unborn child.
  5. You have to provide notice of the expected date of birth of at least 10 weeks and of the date you propose to commence maternity leave of at least 4 weeks.
  6. You have the right to request to return to work on a part-time basis until your child(ren) reaches school age. And your employer will accommodate the reasonable needs for you to return to work on part-time basis at the substantive classification you held before commencing leave.
  7. You need to let your employer know your intention to return to work at least 4 weeks prior to your parental leave ending.

Of course there are a few other things involved so if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact the Union on 9623 9623 or via email at enquiry[at]

NOTE: This information relates to those members working in the public health sector. While some private sector agreements mirror these conditions, it is important to contact the Union to check in on your rights.

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