Maternity leave laws
For most Australian employees maternity leave laws (also known as parental leave) are defined by the Australian Government in the National Employment Standards which came into affect in January 2010.
If you have been employed by your current employer for at least 12 months then you will be entitled to 12 months of unpaid leave. You and your partner can split the 12 months unpaid leave which gives you extra flexibility. But you must take the leave as a block, one at a time. Take a look at Maternity Leave Entitlements for more information on your parental leave entitlements and your obligations as an employee.
Maternity leave for Same Sex Couples
The National Employment Standards also specify that same-sex couples have full parental leave entitlements of 12 months unpaid leave, which can be split between the partners.
Maternity leave for parents who adopt
If you’re planning to adopt a child under five, you are also entitled to parental leave of 12 months of unpaid leave from the date of placement. You are also entitled to split this time with your partner.
Leave for Dads
Under the National Employment Standards , fathers have entitlements to take parental leave as well. Take a look at Paternity Leave.
Employer specific benefits
On top of the 12 months unpaid parental leave, your employer may offer more generous terms and conditions or even paid parental leave. It’s worthwhile checking your employment contract or discussing your arrangements with your employer.
Some employees who are covered by a specific Award or workplace agreement may have slightly different entitlements which exceed those set out by the National Employment Standards or what’s relevant to their industry.