Human Resources

University Policy on Parental Leave (including Partner Leave)

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Human Resources - Central Unit
Date Approved
27/01/2017 Revised 22/05/2018
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

The University of Western Australia

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University Policy on: Parental Leave (including Partner leave)

Overtype “Policy Name” with the name of the policy.  This must convey specifically, accurately and succinctly what the policy addresses eg Award of Honours, Study Leave.

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy defines the nature and purpose of Parental Leave and Partner leave, setting out entitlements, eligibility criteria and other conditions that apply.


The provisions of this policy do not apply to casual Employees..

This must be in Normal, Policy style.

Provide a brief summary of the reasons for the policy and issues it addresses.  This section is designed to stand alone.  The aim is to provide the reader with enough information to make a decision about whether or not this is the policy they are looking for.  It must not be longer than 200 words. 

Example 1

This policy defines the nature and purpose of study leave provisions for academic staff and sets out eligibility criteria and other conditions that apply.

Example 2

This policy seeks to rationalise the award of honours across the University by addressing such issues as: entry standards, course content and structure, supervision, assessment, examination, grades, classifications, benchmarking and the maintenance and provision of documentation relating to these matters.  It is based on resolutions of the Academic Board flowing from the 1999 report of the Honours Working Party.


Approved Delegate means a position granted authority to act on behalf of the Vice Chancellor with varied levels of authority in line with the University’s Delegations.

Child means a child born to, or legally adopted by, an Employee or an Employee’s partner.

Continuous Service means service given in accordance with the contract of employment, but does not include any period of unauthorised absence.

Employee means a person employed by the University who has an ongoing or fixed term contract under the terms of the following Agreements (as amended or replaced from time to time):

· The University of Western Australia Academic Employees Agreement 2017;

· The University of Western Australia Professional & General Employees Agreement 2017;

· The University of Western Australia ELICOS Teachers Agreement 2015; and

· The University of Western Australia Child Care Employees’ Collective Agreement 2015* (*fourteen weeks paid Parental Leave only).

Employee Couple means 2 Employees of the University, who are the spouse, de-factor or same sex partner of the other.

FTE means full time equivalent:  i.e., an FTE of 1.0 means an Employee is equivalent to fulltime, while an FTE of 0.5 means the Employee is only half-time or fractional.

Parental Leave is a reference to both paid and unpaid Parental Leave.

Partner means a person who is a spouse, de facto or same sex partner of a Primary Care Giver.

Primary Care Giver means the Employee who will assume the principal role for the care and attention of the child/children.

Replacement Employee means an Employee specifically engaged to replace an Employee proceeding on Parental Leave.

Supervisor means the person who is responsible for day-to-day supervision of the Employee.

Time Off In Lieu of Payment (TOIL) refers to the provisions for calculation and payment of overtime and TOIL as set out in the Professional and General Agreement.

University means The University of Western Australia.


Policy statement:



1 Parental Leave eligibility


1.1 Employees are entitled to Parental Leave if the leave is associated with:


· the birth of a child of the Employee or the Employee’s Partner; or


· the placement of a child with the Employee for adoption, provided the child is who is not a child of the Employee or the Employee’s Partner, is under the age of 16, and has not lived continuously with the Employee for six months or longer.


1.2 Casual Employees are not entitled to Parental Leave.  However, long term Casual Employees are entitled to unpaid Parental Leave in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).



2 Unpaid Parental Leave


2.1 Employees who have or will have a responsibility for the care of the child are entitled to unpaid Parental Leave of up to 24 months, regardless of the length of their Continuous Service with the University.


2.2 Unpaid Parental Leave does not break Continuous Service.  However, it is not taken into account when calculating a period of service.



3 Paid Parental Leave


3.1 Employees who have or will be the Primary Care Giver are eligible for paid Parental Leave as follows:



Length of Continuous Service at the time leave is to commence

Entitlement to paid Parental Leave

At least 12 months but less than 5 years

26 weeks at full pay; or

52 weeks at half pay.

5 years or more

36 weeks at full pay;

72 weeks at half pay.


3.2 Part time Employees are eligible for pro rata paid Parental Leave.


3.3 Paid Parental Leave counts towards an Employee’s period of service with the University.


3.4 An Employee is not entitled to receive paid Parental Leave concurrently with any paid Parental Leave entitlements received by their Partner through the Partner’s employer, except for Partner leave.



4 Subsequent periods of Parental Leave


4.1 To be eligible for second and subsequent paid Parental Leave, Employees must returned to work with the University after each previous Parental Leave occasion for:


· at least 12 months of Continuous Service, (except where the pregnancy ended in still birth, miscarriage or Peri natal death); and


· at 50% or more of the fraction of employment the Employee held prior to commencing paid Parental Leave, (provided that the return fraction is not less than 0.4 FTE).


4.2 An Employee who does not meet the requirements for subsequent paid Parental Leave is entitled to 14 weeks paid Parental Leave for a second or subsequent period of Parental Leave.



5 Employee Couples


5.1 Employee Couples may share up to a maximum of 104 weeks paid and/or unpaid Parental Leave, when in the role of Primary Care Giver.


5.2 Employee Couples may take paid or unpaid parental and Partner leave concurrently for a maximum of 8 weeks.



6 Pay


6.1 For the purposes of this policy only, Employees may access recreation leave, as part of their Parental Leave, at full pay or half pay. 


6.2 Parental Leave is paid at the salary rate the Employee is receiving at the time of commencing Parental Leave. 


6.3 Employees on any form of paid leave during the 104 week Parental Leave period may apply for payment in the following way:


· on a fortnightly basis;


· in advance;


· at double the period of entitlement on half pay (on agreement with their Supervisor); and/or


· by conversion of a maximum period of 50% of an academic’s paid Parental Leave entitlement into an approved University account for the purposes of re-establishing an academic career.  In this instance the paid Parental Leave entitlement will be reduced by the same period.


6.4 Where the Employee elects to access their Parental Leave at half pay, superannuation contributions will be made on a pro rata basis. Where an Employee elects to maintain superannuation contributions at the notional full-time rate, the Employee will be responsible for maintaining the difference between full-time rate and the University’s pro rata contribution.



7 Commencement of Parental Leave


7.1 Parental Leave must commence as follows:


Type of Parental Leave

Time of Commencement

Pregnant Employee accessing Parental Leave

Up to 6 weeks prior to the expected date of the birth of the child and not later than the date of birth.

Primary Care giver accessing paid Parental Leave (other than a pregnant Employee) with less than 5 years’ service

Within 26 weeks of the date of birth or placement of the child.

Primary Care Giver accessing paid Parental Leave (other than a pregnant Employee) with 5 years’ service or more

Within 36 weeks of the date of birth or placement of the child



Unpaid Parental Leave (other than a Pregnant Employee

On the date of birth or day of placement of the child, or immediately following their Partner’s Parental Leave if an Employee Couple is sharing the entitlement

Adoption related Parental Leave

Must start on the day of placement of the child



7.2 A Pregnant Employee may make an application to the Director, Human Resources to commence paid Parental Leave up to 20 weeks before the expected date of birth, on either medical or compassionate grounds.


7.3 An Employee’s entitlement to 104 weeks’ unpaid Parental Leave will commence on the first day an Employee accesses annual leave or long service leave in the period 6 weeks prior to the birth or placement of a child.


7.4 Paid Parental Leave must be taken in a single continuous period and runs concurrently with the period of unpaid Parental Leave.


7.5 If the full Parental Leave entitlement is not used the unused portion of the paid or unpaid Parental Leave is not preserved.


7.6 If an Employee is on a fixed term contract, any period of Parental Leave, will not extend beyond the term of that contract.



8 Transfer to a safe job


8.1 Where illness or risks arising out of pregnancy, or hazards connected with the work assigned to the Employee make it inadvisable for a pregnant Employee to continue in her present duties, on presentation of a certificate from a certified medical practitioner:


· the duties will be modified; or


· the Employee may be transferred to a safe position at the same classification level until the Employee commences Parental Leave.


8.2 Where there is no safe position available, the Employee is entitled to take paid ‘no safe job’ leave for the period the Employee is deemed to be at risk.  No safe job leave is an entitlement in addition to paid Parental Leave.



9 Notice required for application for Parental Leave


9.1 Employees will give at least 10 weeks’ notice, in writing, of the date they are commencing paid and/or unpaid Parental Leave and the period of leave to be taken. The exact timing and duration of the Parental Leave will be arranged in consultation with the Employee’s Supervisor.


9.2 A shorter notice period is acceptable in the case of a premature birth, if the adoption agency requires an earlier placement of the child, or in other unforeseen circumstances.



10 Adoption of a child


10.1 Employees adopting a child are entitled to reasonable unpaid leave to attend interviews or examinations required for the adoption procedure. Other accrued leave can be taken in lieu of this entitlement.


10.2 Employees who have been granted leave for an adoption which does not eventuate, will have their Parental Leave terminated.  Paid or unpaid personal leave for a period certified by a medical practitioner will be granted, or the Employee may apply to return to work.



11 Other leave entitlements


11.1 Employees can substitute unpaid Parental Leave with any combination of accrued annual recreation leave or long service leave or TOIL for all or part of the period, as long as the aggregate of leave does not exceed 104 weeks.


11.2 For the purposes of this policy only, and as part of the 104 weeks unpaid Parental Leave period, Employees may access recreation leave at half pay.


11.3 For the purposes of this policy only, Employees do not have to exhaust all other leave entitlements before applying for leave without pay within a Parental Leave period.


11.4 Employees who have used all other leave entitlements may apply for leave without pay following the 104 week Parental Leave period.  The University’s approval is required for this additional leave, and will be conditional on the particular circumstances pertaining to the Employee and the operational requirements of the University.


11.5 Employees on Parental Leave are not entitled to paid personal leave and other paid absences except in circumstances outlined in this policy.


11.6 Pregnant Employees not yet on Parental Leave, who suffer an illness related to the pregnancy or are required to undergo a pregnancy related medical procedure, may access paid or unpaid Personal Leave.



12 During Parental Leave


12.1 Employees on Parental Leave can undertake:


· occasional casual employment while on unpaid Parental Leave; or


· fractional employment with the University combined with paid leave to a maximum of 1 FTE, where the substantive position is less than 1 FTE. The FTE of an Employee’s substantive position plus any additional fractional appointment must not exceed 1FTE.


12.2 Employees may resign, in writing, at any time during the period of leave.


12.3 Prior to the appointment of a Replacement Employee, the Supervisor will inform that individual of the fixed term nature of the appointment, including the entitlements of the pregnant Employee to return to work.



13 Return to Work


13.1 An Employee may apply to reduce or extend the period of Parental Leave advised on their original application once only by providing a minimum of 4 weeks’ written notice.


13.2 An Employee may apply to end their Parental Leave early. Approval of the application is subject to Faculty, School or Section convenience and will not be unreasonably denied. 


13.3 An Employee returning from Parental Leave are entitled to the same position or a position equivalent in pay, conditions and status commensurate with the Employee’s skill and abilities required in the substantive position held immediately prior to proceeding on Parental Leave.


13.4 Where an Employee was transferred to a safe job in accordance with this Policy, the Employee is entitled to return to the position occupied immediately prior to transfer.


13.5 An Employee returning from Parental Leave is entitled to make a flexible working request in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), including a request to return on a part-time or job-share basis.  


13.6 A flexible working request must be made in writing to the University at least 6 weeks prior to the return due date.  Approval of the request is subject to Faculty, School or Section convenience.  The University will provide a response to the flexible working request in writing.  


13.7 Where an Employee returns to work on a part-time basis, they may revert to full-time hours at the same classification within 2 years of returning from Parental Leave. However, where the return to work on a part-time basis was agreed for a specific period, the Employee may apply to return to fulltime hours before the end of that specific period, and the University may only refuse such request on reasonable business grounds.


13.8 An application to resume duty within six weeks after the day on which the pregnancy ends, must be supported by a certificate from a registered medical practitioner or midwife, indicating that the Employee is fit to resume duty.  The early return to duty is subject to faculty, school or section convenience but should not be unreasonably denied.



14 Still birth, miscarriage and Peri natal death

14.1 If an Employee’s pregnancy terminates, they are entitled to a period of paid or unpaid personal leave which has been certified as necessary by a registered medical practitioner.


14.2 If an Employee has a medically defined late pregnancy miscarriage, gives birth to a stillborn child, or the child dies following the birth, the pregnant Employee retains an entitlement to up to 14 weeks paid Parental Leave.



15 Partner leave


15.1 An Employee who is the Partner of the birth mother or adoptive parent and who is not the Primary Care Giver is entitled to a period of up to 8 weeks Partner leave which can be taken anytime during the first 12 months’ of their Partner’s period of Parental Leave.


15.2 Partner leave does not need to commence from the date of birth or placement of the child. 


15.3 An Employee who is a Partner is entitled to Partner leave as follows:


Length of Continuous Service at the time leave is to commence

Entitlement to Partner leave

Less than 12 months

Up to 3 weeks unpaid

At least 12 months

Up to 2 weeks paid; and Up to 6 weeks unpaid.


15.4 Partner leave can be taken as a minimum of 1 day at a time and up to 8 weeks in total.


16 Parental Leave documentation


16.1 Supporting documentation, such as a birth certificate, is to be forwarded to enable processing of the leave application.

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Related forms:

Application Process and Supporting Documentation:


Download Parental Leave Application Form

Complete all sections of the form and attach:

· medical confirmation of pregnancy with estimated date of birth/a statement of intention to adopt with estimated date of placement; and


· Declaration confirming role as Primary Care Giver (if applicable)


Pass form to Approved Delegate for approval.

Send form to your Finance and Staff Resources Team for processing.


After the birth/adoption forward the following documentation to your Finance and Staff Resources Team.


A medical/birth certificate confirming the date of birth, or appropriate documentation from the relevant adoption agency confirming the date of placement.



Parental Leave Application Form


Provide links to any forms associated with the policy (eg Approved Leave form) and/or to information on on-line submission.

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HR Advisor, Employee Relations

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Related Policies or legislation:

Professional and General Staff Agreement

Academic Staff Agreement

ELICOS Teachers Agreement

Childcare Employees Agreement

Personal Leave (Illness, Injury and Caring) Policy

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