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Parents Policy

PARENTS POLICY

Policy

This policy sets out how the Company will support team members who are pregnant, whose spouse / partner is pregnant as well as parents who are adopting a child.

Scope

This Policy applies to Global Marketplace team members based in Australia. Please refer to the Parents Policy NZ, if you are employed in New Zealand.

Parental leave

Parental leave is leave that applies when a child is born or adopted.

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

  • the birth of a child to you, your spouse, or your de facto partner, or
  • the placement of a child under 16 with you for adoption.

Who is eligible for parental leave?

You are eligible to take parental leave if you:

  • have worked for us for at least 12 months:
    • before the date or expected date of birth if you are pregnant,
    • before the date of the adoption, or
    • when the leave starts (if the leave is taken after another person cares for the child or takes parental leave)
  • have or will have responsibility for the care of a child.

If you are a casual, to be eligible for unpaid parental leave you need to have:

  • been working for the company on a regular and systematic basis for at least 12 months.
  • a reasonable expectation of continuing work with us on a regular and systematic basis, had it not been for the birth or adoption of a child.

You are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. You can also request an additional 12 months of leave (no more than 24 months in total).

If you have already taken a period of parental leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child, you don’t have to work for another 12 months before you can take another period of parental leave in relation to another child.

Paid parental leave

The Company supports new Parents with paid Parental Leave for primary and secondary care givers. This is subject to the eligibility conditions as set out above.

Eligible primary care givers i.e., a person who is mainly responsible for the care of a child, can receive a salary top-up to their base weekly wage, from the Government provided amount. This is for a maximum of 12 weeks and to a total of $1,500 per week.  For example, if your normal weekly salary is $1500 and you receive $800 from the Government, the Company will pay you the difference to your normal salary, of $700.

Secondary care givers receive 2 weeks paid Parental leave from the Company. This is in addition to any payment you may receive from the Australian Government.

Australian Government Paid Parental Leave

You may have an entitlement to paid parental leave under the Australian Government Paid Parental Leave scheme which provides government-funded Parental Leave Pay, and Dad and Partner Pay at the National Minimum Wage to team members who meet the eligibility criteria. Please contact the Department of Human Services for more information.

Using other leave

During unpaid parental leave you can take any annual leave or long service leave that you have accumulated. You should agree this with your Manager.

Taking parental leave

There are different rules for taking unpaid parental leave, depending on:

  • if one parent takes leave, or
  • if both parents want to take leave at the same time or different times.

 One parent taking parental leave

When 1 parent takes unpaid parental leave, they can take up to:

  • 12 months or
  • 24 months (subject to approval).

The leave must be taken in a single continuous period (e.g., you can’t take leave for 6 months, return to work, then take another 6 months leave).

 Both parents taking leave

Working parents may both want to take unpaid parental leave. The parents can be working for the same or different employers.

 

Leave at the same time

 

Parents who are married or in a de facto relationship can take up to 8 weeks unpaid parental leave at the same time. This is called ‘concurrent leave.’

Concurrent leave can start:

  • on the birth or placement of the child
  • earlier than this date, if agreed or
  • later than this date but must be within 12 months of the birth or placement of the child.

Concurrent leave can be taken in separate periods and each period must be at least 2 weeks long, however, the Company can agree to shorter lengths. Concurrent leave is part of your total unpaid parental leave entitlement, so any concurrent leave taken is deducted from your total parental leave entitlement.

 For example: Both parents taking unpaid parental leave at the same time

 Peter and Leanne both work full-time and are expecting a baby. Leanne plans to take 12 months unpaid parental leave. Peter also intends to take time off when the baby is born. Leanne’s mum will be staying with them for 4 weeks when the baby is born to help. Instead of taking 8 weeks concurrent leave immediately, Peter and his employer agree that he will take 2 weeks unpaid parental leave when the baby is born and another 6 weeks after Leanne’s mum goes home. This 8 weeks of concurrent leave is deducted from their total unpaid parental leave entitlement of 12 months.

Leave at different times

Each parent can take a separate period of up to 12 months unpaid parental leave. The combined leave cannot be for more than 24 months. Any concurrent leave or keeping in touch days taken are deducted from this overall entitlement.

If you take unpaid parental leave first, it must start:

  • on the birth or placement of the child or
  • up to 6 weeks before the expected birth (or earlier if agreed).

If you are a partner who takes unpaid parental leave first, it must start on the birth or placement of the child.

If the leave is adoption related, one parent must start their leave period on the date of placement of the child.

In both cases, leave must be taken in a single continuous period. This means the other parent must start their unpaid parental leave the next working day after the first parent’s leave ends.

When does leave need to start?

Pregnant person taking parental leave

If you are pregnant and taking unpaid parental leave, it must start:

  • on the birth of the child or
  • up to 6 weeks before the expected birth (or earlier if agreed).

Adoptive parent taking parental leave

If the leave is adoption related, the parent taking leave must start their leave period on the date of placement of the child.

Partner taking parental leave

If you aren’t the parent taking unpaid parental leave, the leave must start on the date of birth of the child. As a partner you can start unpaid parental leave after the birth of the child if:

  • you have responsibility for the care of the child and
  • your pregnant partner isn’t employed.

The leave must be taken within 12 months after the birth or placement of the child.

Applying for parental leave

You need to give the Company at least 10 weeks’ notice, in writing, before starting unpaid parental leave. This notice also needs to outline how much leave you want to take, including starting and finishing dates.

 Leave dates or any changes of dates must be confirmed at least 4 weeks before your leave starts. Your Manager will confirm your leave in writing.

Extending parental leave

You may request to extend your leave by a further 12 months (up to 24 months in total).

A request to extend leave must be submitted in writing at least four weeks before the end of the original 12 months’ unpaid parental leave.

We will respond in writing within 21 days and may refuse only on reasonable business grounds. The written response will include details if the request is refused.

Returning to work early

If you are on unpaid parental leave you can shorten your leave if the Company agrees. If we don’t agree, then you must return to work on the planned date. No notice period is required when you agree to the new return date. This doesn’t apply when there’s a still birth or infant death.

Ending employment during parental leave

You can resign while on parental leave, but you must give the required notice of resignation as set out in your employment contract.

You should not undertake any activity during leave which is inconsistent with the employment contract, including other employment and they should remain responsible for the care of the child.

Pregnancy

We encourage team members to inform their Manager of a pregnancy as soon as possible. However, we respect that you may not wish to advise us of your pregnancy earlier than the minimum notice period.

We also respect your wishes regarding when it is appropriate to tell colleagues about the pregnancy.

Harassment while pregnant

We are committed to ensuring the safety of pregnant team members and we consider harassment, bullying and discrimination against any pregnant person to be unacceptable behaviour. Please refer to the EEO & Anti-Discrimination policy.

Safety at work

We understand pregnancy to be a healthy and normal process and recognises that women have different experiences. When you notify your Manager that you are pregnant, they will ask you to let them know if you experience any changes to your work capacity during the pregnancy. Your Manager will then discuss with you what is needed to keep you safe and comfortable at work. Adjustments will be made accordingly and where possible.

Adjustments will be considered on a case-by case basis and may include options to reduce hours, light duties, rotated tasks, provision of a chair and additional breaks.

All pregnant team members, including casuals, are entitled to move to a safe job if it isn’t safe for them to do their usual job because of their pregnancy. This includes team members who aren’t eligible for unpaid parental leave.

If you move to a safe job, you will still get the same pay rate, hours of work and other entitlements that you received in your usual job. You and your Manager can agree on different working hours. You will stay until it’s safe to go back to your normal job, or until you give birth.

You will need to give us evidence, which can be a medical certificate, to confirm:

  • You can work but can’t do your normal job (including why your normal job isn’t safe) and
  • how long you shouldn’t work in your normal job.

Working prior to birth

If you want to work during the 6 weeks before birth you may be asked to provide a medical certificate containing the following:

  • a statement of whether you are fit for work
  • if you are fit for work, a statement of whether it is inadvisable for you to continue in your present position because of:
  • illness or risks arising out of your pregnancy or
  • hazards connected with the position.

We may require you to take a period of unpaid parental leave as soon as possible if you:

  • fail to provide the requested medical certificate within 7 days of the request or
  • provides a certificate within 7 days 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 your unpaid parental leave entitlement. It is exempt from the rules about when the leave must start, that it be taken in a continuous period, and notice requirements.

Return to work

If you have agreed to contact during leave, then towards the end of the leave period, your Manager will confirm your intention to return on the agreed date. You may also want to discuss any requests for flexible work arrangements at this time.

You must provide 4 weeks’ notice if you want to extend your leave beyond the return date that was initially advised.

You have the right to return to the job you held prior to going on leave, including any promotion. If that position no longer exists, you will be given whichever other available position is nearest in status and remuneration to the position you held prior to going on leave.

If you were placed in a safe work position prior to leave, you are entitled to return to the position you held immediately before the safe work position.

If the pre-parental leave position no longer exists, the Company will follow redeployment and redundancy procedures to determine if a suitable alternative position is available.

Breastfeeding at work

We aim to understand and support mothers in the workplace, including accommodating breastfeeding as much as possible e.g., providing a private space.

You should discuss your needs with your Manager and the company will endeavour to make a private space available or other arrangements made by agreement. Depending on your duties this may include cover while you are away from your work environment.

Leave for pregnancy related illness

If you are ill during your pregnancy, you may access your ordinary sick leave entitlements, including any accrued leave.

If you experience extended illness due to pregnancy, you can access unpaid ‘special maternity leave’ for the period your treating doctor certifies is necessary. Special maternity leave is included in the 12-month available unpaid parental leave period.

You must make a special maternity leave application as soon as practicable which details the period of leave required. Your Manager may request a medical certificate and if so, this must be provided by you.

Loss of a child while pregnant

If your unpaid parental leave hasn’t started, you can cancel your leave with written notice.

Where there’s a still birth or infant death, you can no longer take unpaid parental leave, but instead may take sick leave or special maternity leave instead if you are unable to work.

If you have started unpaid parental leave but sadly your child is still born or dies, you are still entitled to be on unpaid parental leave until you or the Company end the leave.

You can end your leave by giving 4 weeks’ notice.

The Company can end your leave by giving at least 6 weeks’ notice in writing requesting that you return to work on a specific day. The company will be sensitive to the personal issues associated with this type of leave.

Adoption

We recognise that the timing of placement for an adopted child may be uncertain, you should keep your Manager informed of any changes to the likely placement date and commencement of leave.

Time off for appointments, interviews, or examinations

Personal leave may be available for attendance at medical appointments. Appointment times and the availability of leave should be discussed with your Manager.

You may take up to 2 days’ unpaid pre- adoption leave. You must provide notice of the leave including expected leave period as soon as practicable (which may be after the leave has started). If you require more than 2 days’ pre-adoption leave, you should discuss this with your Manager.

Contact when on parental leave

We respect that some team members do not want any contact while on leave, and others do. Your Manager will discuss with you what sort of communication you would like while on leave and record this agreement.

While you are on parental leave, we will ensure that you are considered and kept informed of significant changes that may occur in the business.

Where a decision will have a significant effect on the status, pay or location of the pre-parental leave position, we will take all reasonable steps to inform you and discuss the effect of the decision. During any restructures, team members on parental leave will be treated no less favourably than other team members and will be kept informed of the process.

Team members on unpaid parental leave have various entitlements:

  • keeping in touch days
  • extending parental leave
  • going back to work early
  • ending employment during parental leave

Keeping in touch days

Keeping in touch days allow team members who are still on unpaid parental leave to come back to work for a few days. This is a good way for team members who are caring for a baby or newly adopted child to stay up to date with the workplace, refresh their skills and assist their return to work.

Work on a keeping in touch day may include participating in a planning day, doing training or attending a conference. Keeping in touch days may be worked as a part day, 1 day at a time, a few days at a time or all at once. You will receive your normal wage and accumulate leave entitlements for each keeping in touch day or part thereof.

While on unpaid parental leave you get 10 keeping in touch days. This doesn’t affect your unpaid parental leave entitlement. If you extend your period of unpaid parental leave beyond 12 months, you can take an additional 10 days.

References

  • Benefits Policy
  • EEO & Anti-Discrimination policy

END OF POLICY

Author:People & Culture
Effective date:1 June 2022
Date of last amendment13 June 2022
Review date:2 years
Date uploaded to WIKI:13 June 2022

This Policy is uncontrolled when printed.

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