Parental leave instruction

Instruction statement

Parental leave is granted on the basis that a staff member’s career will not be disadvantaged by having a child.

The aim of parental leave is to enable the staff member and their family to work together to establish future care of their child/ren. Parental leave also provides them with the added security of knowing that they can return to the workforce when the parental leave period is over.

Parental leave is only available to staff who have or will have responsibility for the care of a child. The leave must be associated with

  • the birth of a child to the staff member, the staff member’s spouse or defacto partner or
  • the placement of a child under 16 with the staff member for adoption
    or
  • when a permanent care order is made by the Children’s Court, granting custody and guardianship to the staff member, the staff member’s spouse or defacto partner for a child under 16

Parental leave can be paid or unpaid leave for the purpose of providing care to a new born baby or a newly adopted child and includes (i) maternity leave; (ii) adoption leave; and (iii) permanent care leave and (iv) partner leave.

Parental leave is available to both parents in a relationship, including de-facto and same-sex couples.

Exclusions

Nil.

Instruction steps and actions

1. Eligibility and entitlements for parental leave:

All staff becoming parents of a child are eligible to apply for parental leave as per the following tables:

a. Maternity Leave

Length of continuous service

Academic, professional and senior executive staff

TAFE staff

Childcare staff

Casual staff

Less than 1 year

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including up to 14 weeks paid leave accrued on a pro-rata basis per completed month of continuous service.

Plus a return to work bonus equivalent to an additional 12 weeks salary upon the staff member’s return to work.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including up to 14 weeks paid leave accrued on a pro-rata basis per completed month of continuous service.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including up to 12 weeks paid leave accrued on a pro-rata basis per completed month of continuous service.

Not applicable

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

Not applicable

1-3 years

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including between 14 and 24 weeks paid leave accrued on a pro-rata basis per completed month of continuous service.

Plus a return to work bonus equivalent to an additional 12 weeks salary upon the staff member’s return to work.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including 14 weeks paid leave.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including 12 weeks paid leave.

Only casual staff who have been employed on a regular and systematic basis with reasonable expectations of ongoing employment may be entitled to up to 52 weeks unpaid leave (Eligibility for unpaid parental leave will be determined by the staff member’s manager in consultation with HR)

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

Only casual staff who have been employed on a regular and systematic basis with reasonable expectations of ongoing employment may be entitled to up to 52 weeks unpaid leave (Eligibility for unpaid parental leave will be determined by the staff member’s manager in consultation with HR)

3 years and more

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including 24 weeks paid leave.

Plus a return to work bonus equivalent to an additional 12 weeks salary upon the staff member’s return to work.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including 14 weeks paid leave.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including 12 weeks paid leave.

Only casual staff who have been employed on a regular and systematic basis with reasonable expectations of ongoing employment may be entitled to up to 52 weeks unpaid leave (Eligibility for unpaid parental leave will be determined by the staff member’s manager in consultation with HR)

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

The maternity leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

Only casual staff who have been employed on a regular and systematic basis with reasonable expectations of ongoing employment may be entitled to up to 52 weeks unpaid leave (Eligibility for unpaid parental leave will be determined by the staff member’s manager in consultation with HR)

b. Adoption Leave or Permanent Care Leave

Length of continuous service

Academic, professional and senior executive staff

TAFE staff

Childcare staff

Casual staff

Less than 1 year

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including up to

-14 weeks paid leave (if child is younger than 12 months) or

-up to 8 weeks paid leave (if child is 12 months or older)

accrued on a pro-rata basis per completed month of continuous service.

Plus a return to work bonus equivalent to an additional 12 weeks salary upon the staff member’s return to work.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including up to

-14 weeks paid leave (if child is younger than 12 months) or

-up to 8 weeks paid leave (if child is 12 months or older)

accrued on a pro-rata basis per completed month of continuous service.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including

-12 weeks paid leave (if child is younger than 12 months) or

-up to 6 weeks paid leave (if child is 12 months or older)

accrued on a pro-rata basis per completed month of continuous service.

Not applicable

The adoption leave or permanent care leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 consecutive months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

The adoption leave or permanent care leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 consecutive months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

The adoption leave or permanent care leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 consecutive months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

1-3 years

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including

- 14 to 24 weeks paid leave (if child is younger than 12 months) or

- 8 to 18 weeks paid leave (if child is 12 months or older)

accrued on a pro-rata basis per completed month of continuous service.

The adoption leave or permanent care leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 consecutive months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

Plus a return to work bonus equivalent to an additional 12 weeks salary upon the staff member’s return to work.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including

- 14 weeks paid leave (if child is younger than 12 months) or

- 8 weeks paid leave (if child is 12 months or older)

The adoption leave or permanent care leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including

- 12 weeks paid leave (if child is younger than 12 months) or

- 6 weeks paid leave (if child is 12 months or older).

The adoption leave or permanent care leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

Only casual staff

who have been employed on a regular and systematic basis with reasonable expectations of ongoing employment may be entitled to up to 52 weeks unpaid leave (Eligibility for unpaid parental leave will be determined by the staff member’s manager in consultation with HR)

3 years and more

Up to 52 weeks unpaid leave, including

 -  24 weeks paid leave (if child is younger than 12 months) or

 -  18 weeks paid leave (if child is 12 months or older)

 Plus a return to work bonus equivalent to an additional 12 weeks salary upon the staff member’s return to work.

 The adoption or permanent care leave can be extended on request by an additional 52 weeks unpaid leave, to a total of not more than 24 consecutive months (104 weeks) maternity leave.

c. Partner Leave

Eligible staff need to submit a statutory declaration that outlines that the staff member is the father of, or a staff member who has accepted the responsibility for the ongoing care of, or are an approved applicant for the adoption of a child or was granted a permanent care order. .

Fixed term and continuing staff

Primary carer

5 days paid partner leave and up to 51 weeks unpaid leave (not exceeding 52 weeks in total).

Fixed term and continuing staff

Not primary carer

5 days paid partner leave (needs to be taken in the period one week before and six weeks after the birth/adoption or permanent care order and may be taken at once or in separate periods).

Where both parents are employed by RMIT, they may elect to share the entitlement of one staff member to maternity, adoption or permanent care return to work assistance.

2. Conditions

a. Paid Maternity, Adoption and Permanent Care Leave

The staff member’s entitlement to paid leave may be paid for twice the duration at half pay. Part-time staff are paid at the rate proportionate to their appointment. To be entitled to paid maternity leave the paid leave must be commenced:

  • in the period commencing no earlier than 6 weeks before the expected date of birth of the child, and
  • no later than the birth of the child and the paid leave must be taken in a single continuous period

Where an employee’s time fraction has varied, the entitlement to paid maternity, adoption and permanent carer leave and the Return to Work Bonus is calculated on the weighted average of the time fraction over the preceding period of continuous service to a maximum of three years. Provided that any change in time fraction due to pregnancy-related issues or on return from parental leave, will not impact on calculation of subsequent parental leave and return to work bonus entitlements.

For the purposes of calculating parental leave entitlements and the Return to Work Bonus, approved leave without pay (excluding unpaid parental leave) will be treated as a zero time fraction.

This period of paid leave includes any public holidays, or University holidays which fall during that time.

Where a staff member continues to work within the six week period immediately prior to the expected date of birth, or where the staff member elects to return to work within six weeks after the birth of the child, the University may, with written notice of five working days, require the staff member to provide a medical certificate stating that she is fit to work on her normal duties.

The University may require the staff member to take a period of parental leave as soon as practicable if the staff member doesn’t provide the certificate within seven days after the request or if the staff member provides a certificate stating that they are not fit for work. This form of directed leave runs until the end of the pregnancy or until the planned leave was due to start, and is deducted from the staff member’s parental leave entitlement.

b. Unpaid Special Maternity Leave

A pregnant staff member is entitled to take unpaid special maternity leave it they are not fit to work because of a pregnancy related illness and do not have sufficient sick leave or if the pregnancy ends not in the birth of a living child within 28 weeks of the expected date of birth.

The entitlement to unpaid parental leave is reduced by the amount of any unpaid special maternity leave taken by the staff member while they are pregnant.

c. Unpaid Pre-Adoption Leave and Unpaid Permanent Care Leave

Staff who need to attend interviews or examinations as part of the adoption or permanent care procedures are entitled to the equivalent of 2 days special unpaid leave for this purpose.

d. Use of Annual and Long Service Leave during Parental Leave

A staff member may take annual and long service leave during parental leave, provided the total period of parental leave, including unpaid leave, does not exceed 24 months (104 weeks). Parental leave should include any outstanding annual leave, such that, at the completion of the absence, the staff member’s annual leave entitlement is not greater than one year’s entitlement. Staff members are also encouraged to take all or part of long service leave entitlements, particularly any entitlement in excess of 18 weeks.

e. Health and safety

A staff member who is pregnant is entitled to use available sick leave to attend regular or emergency pre-natal medical appointments prior to commencing maternity leave. Where no sick leave is available the staff member will be entitled to use annual leave.

If a pregnant staff member provides acceptable evidence that she is fit for work but unable to perform her present position as a result of illness or risks associated with the pregnancy, or hazards connected to her position, the University will transfer the staff member to an appropriate safe job, where such a position is available. If the University is unable to temporarily place the staff member in an appropriate position, the staff member will be entitled to paid leave for the duration that the staff member would have been at risk.

f. Continuity of service and leave accruals

The period of Parental Leave taken will count as continuous service. Also the period of paid and/or unpaid parental leave is to be regarded as continuous service for the purpose of determining leave accruals. Staff on paid and/or unpaid parental leave will accrue leave at the same service fraction that was used to calculate the paid parental leave entitlement, or the appropriate time fraction that applied to the position held at the commencement of leave for unpaid parental leave.

While absence on approved parental leave does not break continuity of service, the following does not count as service:

  • any period of parental leave equivalent
    • to a total greater than 52 weeks for academic, professional, executive and child care staff
    • to a total greater than 26 weeks for TAFE staff
  • any continuous period of sick leave without pay which exceeds 20 working days
  • any period of sick leave without pay which, in aggregate, exceeds 20 working days in any year of service
  • any other period of leave without pay whether continuous or in aggregate in any year of service, which exceeds 20 working days (except for leave without pay for arbitration leave or to contest elections)

g. Cessation of Employment with the University

No entitlement to payment or leave remains for any period after which employment ceases and final payments have been made.

3. Applying for parental leave

a. Notice

Staff intending to take parental leave, are required to provide at least 10 weeks notice to the University of the anticipated date of birth and the intended start and end date of their parental leave.

However, the more notice the staff member provides, the better their manager and others can ensure arrangements for the staff member’s absence are in place for smooth continuation of their work.

At least four weeks before the intended start date, the staff member planning to take parental leave, needs to confirm intended start and end dates or advise Human Resources and the manager of any changes to the intended start and end date.

b. Application

All leave needs to be applied for by using Employee Self Service (ESS) at (www.rmit.edu.au/its/ess) at least 10 weeks before the staff member intends to commence parental leave.

The staff member will also need to provide the appropriate documentary evidence of the expected birth date or date of placement supporting the request for parental leave to their manager.

c. Approval

Applications for parental leave are approved by the staff member’s manager with the appropriate delegated authority. The manager who approved the parental leave has to forward documentary evidence supporting the staff member’s request for parental leave to Human Resources. Human Resources will verify the staff member’s entitlements and process the application for leave.

Human Resources will confirm in writing the dates and period of parental leave which has been approved and the date which the staff member is expected to return to duty.

At least four weeks before the leave commences, the staff member needs to confirm the dates for parental leave or advise the manager and HR of any changes to the intended start and end dates.

4. Staying connected

The staff member can try to stay connected and maintain communication with their manager /colleagues while away on parental leave by:

  • continuing to access your email account, as you may want your manager and colleagues to keep you informed of relevant changes or inform you of important meetings and developments through email or by phone
  • visiting the workplace and/or attending meetings, functions e.g. morning teas, farewells and celebrations
  • keeping in contact with your manager whilst on parental leave
  • Accessing professional development opportunities through RMIT’s professional development program while on parental leave. (Time to attend professional development can be added to the staff member’s parental leave. Attendance of professional development while on parental leave needs to be discussed with the manager).

If, while a staff member is on parental leave, the University makes a decision that is likely to have a significant effect on the status, pay or location of the staff member’s substantive position, the University will ensure that the staff member is kept informed of those changes and is given the opportunity to discuss the changes with their manager.

5. Returning to work

a. Entitlements

Upon the expiration of parental leave, the staff member will be entitled to return to either (i) the position they held prior to taking parental leave; or (ii) an available position for which they are qualified and suited which is at the same level and salary and with duties as similar as possible to the position the staff member held prior to taking unpaid parental leave.

b. Notice prior to returning to work

  • Academic and professional staff are required to notify their manager of their intention to return to work after a period of parental leave in writing at least four weeks prior to the expiration of the leave.
  • Vocational Education staff are required to provide twelve weeks written notice to the University of their intention to return to work

However, the more notice the staff member can provide the better their manager and others can ensure arrangements for are in place for a smooth transition.

A staff member on a fixed term contract is only eligible for parental leave or to resume employment after their parental leave until the expiry of their contract.

6. Return to work bonus

Eligibility and entitlements

All academic and professional staff returning to work from a period of maternity or adoption leave or permanent care leave are eligible to receive the return to work bonus.

The return to work bonus is designed to facilitate re-entry for staff back into the workforce and for academics for the purposes of re-establishing their research profile. A return to work plan will be developed between the staff member and their manager when the staff member returns to work. Activities in the return to work plan can be funded by the return to work bonus.

The return to work bonus can be used:

(a) as an allowance to supplement reduced salary due to reduced time fraction on return from parental leave, up to a maximum of the employee’s substantive time fraction; and/or

(b) to fund research, conference attendance, staff development; and/or

(c) other assistance as approved by the University.

Conditions

  • The staff member must be returning from maternity leave or adoption leave or permanent care leave or unpaid parental leave. The return to work bonus is not available for staff returning from extended unpaid leave beyond 24 months (104 weeks) of parental leave (including paid and unpaid parental leave).
  • The return to work bonus must be used within the 12 months (52 weeks) of returning to work from parental leave.
  • The return to work bonus is pro-rata for part time staff.
  • If the staff member resigns during the duration of service used as a basis to calculate the return to work bonus, then the staff member will forfeit any outstanding return to work bonus amount.
  • The return to work bonus is non-superannuable.
  • The staff member must discuss their return to work plan and bonus with their manager at some point before their return and must apply to receive the return to work bonus and finalise their plan not less than 4 weeks prior to returning to work from parental leave by completing a Parental leave return to work bonus form (DOCX 88.0kb 1p) (http://www.rmit.edu.au/pc/forms) and submitting it to Human Resources.

7. Flexible work arrangements and support for the staff members work-life balance

a. Flexible working

An eligible staff member who is a parent, or has the responsibility for the care, of a child may request a change in working arrangements to assist the staff member to care for the child if the child:

(a) is under school age; or

(b) is under 18 and has a disability.

The University will seriously consider the request and not unreasonably refuse a staff member’s application for part-time employment or job sharing on return to duty from parental leave or whilst pregnant, if the pregnancy makes part-time employment necessary or desirable.

If a staff member opts for part-time employment or job sharing arrangement, the University will draw up and retain an agreement which determines the length of the period and days to be worked.

Please refer to the Flexible working policy for further details

b. Additional support from RMIT

In addition to flexible working options the University provides access to the following to support the staff member in managing their work-life balance.

Counselling Appraisal Consultants (CAC) provides confidential counselling services to RMIT staff and their immediate families. The EAP can help staff and their immediate family members with problems that affect psychological or emotional well-being. All programs are free and totally confidential.

You are encouraged to use the EAP service to help you resolve any problems that may be causing you or your family concern. For example:

    • Expecting a baby
    • Post-natal depression
    • Being a new parent
    • Coping with return to work
    • Coping as a single parent
    • Emotional stress, depression and anxiety
    • Marital difficulties/relationship problems
    • Interpersonal /conflicts
    • Financial or legal problems
    • Grief

The EAP can also be used for other personal work related concerns.

Telephone 1300786860 for an appointment and please identify yourself as an employee of RMIT. For urgent after hours counselling you can telephone 0431 119 909.

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