Know Your Rights: Maternity Leave

26-May-2017

 

 

Maternity Leave - Staff Specialists

ASMOF industrial officers frequently assist members who are seeking advice on their entitlements to paid maternity leave. In addition, we are often asked to advise and advocate for members in relation to flexible work practices when they return to work.

In this week of Know your Rights, we look at maternity leave, with a focus on the Staff Specialist (State) Award.

How much paid maternity leave is an eligible Staff Specialist entitled to?

Under the Staff Specialist (State) Award, an eligible staff specialist is entitled to 14 weeks at the ordinary rate of pay.

Many members are not aware that maternity leave may be paid on a normal fortnightly basis, in advance in a lump sum or at the rate of half pay over 28 weeks.

What is the entitlement to unpaid maternity leave?

Full-time and part-time Staff Specialists who are entitled to paid maternity leave are entitled to a further period of unpaid maternity leave of not more than 12 month after the actual date of birth.

Those who are not eligible for paid maternity leave are entitled to unpaid maternity leave of not more than 12 months.
  

Can you request an extension of LWOP and flexible part time arrangements?

A Staff Specialist who is entitled to maternity, adoption or parental leave may request the Employer to allow the Staff Specialist:
  1. to extend the period of simultaneous maternity, adoption or parental leave use up to a maximum of eight weeks;
  2. to extend the period of unpaid maternity, adoption or extended parental leave for a further continuous period of leave not exceeding 12 months;
  3. to return from a period of maternity, adoption or parental leave on a part time basis until the child reaches school age; to assist the Staff Specialist in reconciling work and parental responsibilities.
Under the Staff Specialist (State) Award, the Employer shall consider the request having regard to the Staff Specialist’s circumstances and, provided the request is genuinely based on the Staff Specialist’s parental responsibilities, may only refuse the request on reasonable grounds related to the effect on the workplace or the Employer’s business. Such grounds might include cost, lack of adequate replacement staff, loss of efficiency and the impact on customer service.

Any ASMOF members who have questions or difficulties in accessing flexible arrangements under the Staff Specialist (State) Award should contact our office for assistance. In certain situations, a refusal to accommodate caring responsibilities in working hours may amount to unlawful discrimination so it is important to seek advice.

Can annual and/or long service leave credits be combined with periods of maternity leave?

Yes. We suggest that you make these arrangements before you commence maternity leave.

When should the Employer be notified?

We suggest that if you intend to proceed on maternity leave, you should formally notify your employer as early as you are comfortable with.

Written notice of not less than 8 weeks prior to the commencement of the leave should be given. The notice must include a medical certificate stating the expected date of birth and should also include the period of leave desired.

News: Federal government’s Paid Parental Leave to remain

In good news for working parents and families, eligible employees will not lose access to the Federal Government’s 18 weeks paid parental leave scheme on top of the entitlements in Awards or Enterprise Agreements.

After significant pressure from unions, the opposition and independents, on 10 May 2017, the Turnbull Government withdrew the Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016. Members may recall that the Turnbull government was attempting to limit access to the Federal Government Scheme based on its allegations of “double dipping”. It appears that for the moment at least, the scheme is set to remain.

 

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