Parental leave at ACU

Parental leave is available to all ACU staff, and the Parental Leave Policy provides the range of paid and unpaid options for staff members who are welcoming a child, or who are the primary carer for a child. We also provide options for partners, for couples, and for those who wish to foster a child.

The policy explains the types of parental leave available to fixed-term, continuing, casual and sessional staff, as well as information regarding extended and further unpaid parental leave. Applying to return to work on a part-time basis or requesting a flexible working arrangement is also available to staff returning from parental leave.

What is the Parental Leave Policy?

The Parental Leave Policy helps support staff to balance their work and family commitments, and it provides information to staff members about their entitlement to parental leave, paid and unpaid. ACU provides generous paid parental leave entitlements, with the maximum entitlement of 12 weeks at full salary plus 40 weeks at 0.6 salary (depending on length of service).

The Parental Leave Policy explains the entitlements to leave outlined in the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement, including staff eligibility for parental leave and details related to:

  • the definition of a primary carer
  • entitlements available to a primary carer, their partners, couples and foster parents
  • the types of parental leave available to fixed-term, continuing, casual and sessional staff members
  • paid parental leave, extended parental leave and further unpaid parental leave
  • the option for staff members to request to return to work on a part-time basis or apply for a flexible working arrangement.
Recent changes to the Parental Leave Policy

The Parental Leave Policy has recently been reviewed to incorporate the provisions of the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement 2017-2021.

These changes include:

  • clarification of the definition of a ‘primary carer’ meaning:
  • a person who is the birth mother of the newborn
  • the adopting parent of the child
  • another person caring for the child (reasonable evidence must be provided).
  • a comprehensive table which sets out the parental leave entitlements and eligibility to paid and unpaid leave
  • clarification of leave entitlements for foster parents, partners, and casual and sessional staff
  • clarification of how the parental leave entitlements apply where staff wish to access leave as a member of a couple.

The application of parental leave when accessed as a member of a couple, specifically where it involves a partner who is employed by another employer (not ACU), is complex and there is specific information about the eligibility criteria and how it applies in Appendix 1 of the Parental Leave Policy.

Who can apply for parental leave?

All continuing and fixed-term staff members can apply for parental leave, which is the general term that covers leave associated with:

  • the birth of an infant or the adoption of a child under the age of sixteen (16)
  • the fostering of a child up to the age of sixteen (16)

Parental leave is also available to:

  • fixed or continuing staff members who are the partner of a person who is the primary carer of a child or foster child
  • couples – where two employees (not necessarily of the same employer) are in a spousal or de facto relationship
  • casual or sessional staff members who have been engaged on a regular and systematic basis for a period of at least 12 months and are the primary carer of the child or are the partner of the primary carer.
How do I apply for parental leave?

You can apply for parental leave though Staff Connect. Before completing an application, you should read the Parental Leave Policy and discuss your parental leave plan with your nominated supervisor.

What assistance can my nominated supervisor and HR provide?

Your nominated supervisor is responsible for the overall implementation and operation of parental leave arrangements in your work area. You should discuss your leave plans with your supervisor before applying for leave in Staff Connect. Your supervisor should be your first point of contact about your leave entitlements.

HR can assist with any questions you may have regarding the Parental Leave Policy and your entitlements through Service Central. Once you have applied for leave, HR will also review your application and may ask you to provide additional supporting documentation. HR can also provide advice to you and your nominated supervisor, if needed, to help progress your request.

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