- Application and Process of Policy
- Parental Leave Entitlements
- Staff Entitlements and Conditions during a Period of Parental Leave
- Parental Leave and Annual Leave Management
- Wellbeing Considerations During Pregnancy
- Resumption of Duty Following Parental Leave
- Unplanned Cessation of Parental Leave
- Revisions made to this Policy
- Further Assistance
In line with its Mission, and to support staff to balance their work and family commitments, the University provides arrangements for staff who require leave associated with the raising and care of children.
This policy informs staff members of their entitlement to Parental Leave and its application at ACU and supports the provisions set out in the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement 2017 – 2021 (the Agreement).
This policy applies to all staff of the University. Staff members can be eligible for paid and/or unpaid parental leave.
3. Application and Process of Policy
3.1 As per the Agreement, parental leave is the general term that covers leave associated with:
(i) the birth of an infant or the adoption of a child under the age of sixteen (16), and
(ii) the fostering of a child up to the age of sixteen (16).
The approval of such leave is subject to receipt of an application for parental leave and appropriate certification, such as a medical certificate from a registered health practitioner indicating an estimate due date or documentation from a relevant agency for adoption and/or foster placement, which the staff member is required to submit normally no later than ten (10) weeks prior to the proposed commencement of parental leave for the birth of an infant and as early as possible for adoption and/or fostering where ten (10) weeks is not possible.
3.2 Staff members normally make applications for parental leave through Staff Connect. Following receipt and approval of an application for parental leave, the University will confirm approval of parental leave through Staff Connect.
3.3 Where an application for annual or long service leave is being requested to be taken in conjunction with a period of parental leave, the request should be submitted for approval by the appropriate delegated officer using Staff Connect.
3.4 An application for parental leave must be submitted for approval to the appropriate delegated officer. Information about delegated officers for leave approvals is available in the University’s Delegations of Authority Policy and Register.
4. Parental Leave Entitlements
4.1 Primary Carer Definition
As per the Agreement, a Primary Carer means a person who is:
- the birth mother of the newborn;
- the adopting parent of the child; or
- another person caring for the child in place of the person who would otherwise be the primary carer of the child, subject to the University being provided with reasonable evidence to support that the person is the primary carer.
Evidence requested by the University may include a Statutory Declaration to be provided by the staff member to verify they are the primary carer. The Statutory Declaration must clearly outline the circumstances upon which the staff member will be the primary carer including how, and in what way, they will be caring for the child.
A member of staff who is the primary carer is entitled to paid and/or unpaid leave associated with the birth of an infant or adoption of a child in accordance with the following table:
 Couple - A couple is where two employees (not necessarily of the same employer) are in a spousal or de facto relationship.
4.2.1 For a primary carer who is a member of a couple the total period of parental leave is twenty four (24) months of which some of the paid leave entitlement can only be utilised in the first twelve (12) months.
4.2.2 A primary carer who is entitled to a paid leave entitlement and has one hundred and four (104) or more weeks of completed paid continuous service may apply to vary their leave to reduce the total period of leave, with the exception of the first twelve (12) weeks. Where the staff member decides to reduce their paid 40 week leave entitlement, the staff member is agreeing to a reduction in their total paid leave entitlement. The salary rate of 0.6 remains unchanged and applies to the actual period of leave taken.
4.2.3 A primary carer who is entitled to a paid leave entitlement and has one hundred and four (104) or more weeks of completed paid continuous service and elects to return to work after the first twelve (12) weeks full pay component, may make an application to access up to 40 weeks of the 0.6 component at any time up to the child’s first birthday. Leave is normally taken in continuous periods.
4.2.4 A staff member is not eligible for paid parental leave and paid work at the University concurrently.
4.2.5 Staff are not able to use any other forms of leave (including annual leave) during paid parental leave.
4.3 Entitlement to Leave Associated with Foster Parenting, Partners, Casual and Sessional Staff
A member of staff who is the primary carer of a foster child, or a Partner, or a Casual or Sessional staff member, is entitled to paid and/or unpaid leave associated with the birth, adoption or fostering of a child in accordance with the following table:
4.4 Subsequent Applications for Leave Associated with the Birth of an Infant or Adoption of a Child under Sixteen (16)
4.4.1 A staff member who has previously taken a paid leave entitlement as per 4.2 (A3), who makes an application for a second or subsequent period of paid parental leave, is only eligible for a further paid entitlement as per 4.2 (A3) if they have returned to work for a minimum period of twenty six (26) weeks on a full-time or part-time basis following the completion of the previous period of leave.
4.4.2 A staff member who has not met the return to work obligation to receive a further paid leave entitlement as per 4.2 (A3), is eligible to receive twelve (12) weeks paid parental leave as per 4.2 (A2).
4.4.3 A staff member may use accrued annual or long service leave in order to meet their return to work obligation.
4.5 Extended Parental Leave Without Pay
A staff member taking twelve (12) months parental leave may request an extension of a further twelve (12) months leave as Extended Parental Leave Without Pay to extend to a total of twenty four (24) months from the date of birth of the infant or date of adoption.
This leave is subject to a written request to the staff member’s nominated supervisor and must be made four (4) weeks prior to the end date of the original leave. The nominated supervisor must provide a written response to the request not later than twenty one (21) days after the request is made and the response must state whether the request is approved or not and, if not, the reason for the refusal.
On approval the staff member is entitled to return to their substantive position at the original campus held prior to commencing leave.
A staff member on Extended Parental Leave Without Pay may apply to take accrued annual leave, long service leave, time-off-in-lieu or accumulated time credits to offset any or all leave without pay taken in association with the care of a child as per item 3.1 of this policy.
4.6 Further Unpaid Parental Leave
In addition to, and immediately following, paid or unpaid parental leave a staff member may request a further fifty two (52) weeks of Further Unpaid Parental Leave (as per item 4.2) for the care of children under school age. This leave is renewable upon request annually for no more than fifty-two (52) weeks at any one time, and the total period of leave must not extend beyond the child reaching school age.
On approval of Further Unpaid Parental Leave the staff member will become unattached from their substantive position after twenty four (24) months of continuous paid and/or unpaid parental leave. On their return, the staff member will be placed in a suitable position subject to availability and will be managed in accordance the Management of Staff Unattached from Substantive Position Policy.
A staff member may undertake a temporary return to work during an approved period of Further Unpaid Parental Leave. Any temporary return to work arrangements will be at the request of the University to meet operational needs. The temporary work arrangement must be agreeable to the staff member and will count as duty for the purpose of returning to work.
During this period of Further Unpaid Parental Leave the staff member may return to work at a fraction that does not exceed 0.4 of their substantive fraction. At the conclusion of these arrangements a staff member may make an application for another period of Further Unpaid Parental Leave. However, if the staff member exceeds 0.4 of their substantive fraction, they will be deemed to be formally returning to work and forgo any further unpaid parental leave for this instance of parental leave.
A staff member on Further Unpaid Parental Leave may apply to take accrued annual leave, long service leave, time-off-in-lieu or accumulated time credits to offset any or all leave without pay taken in association with the care of a child as per item 3.1 of this policy.
5. Staff Entitlements and Conditions during a Period of Parental Leave
5.1 Annual and long service leave will accrue during periods of paid parental leave at the rate that salary is earned.
5.2 The first twenty-six (26) weeks of a period of leave without pay associated with the birth of an infant or adoption of a child under sixteen (16) will count as service in determining the entitlement of a staff member to the accrual of leave and for most other purposes. This will be calculated at the staff member’s substantive fraction. Staff members on full pay, half pay or 0.6 parental leave will continue to accumulate leave at the relevant fraction or an annualised fraction where this has been elected by the staff member.
5.3 Management of incremental progression for staff members returning from paid and/or unpaid parental leave will be in accordance with the Incremental Progression for Professional Staff Policy or Incremental Progression for Academic Staff Policy.
5.4 A staff member who is employed on a fixed-term contract which expires during a period of paid leave will not be eligible for further leave after the date of expiry of the contract unless they are re-employed on a continuing basis or on a further fixed-term contract. The provision of such leave shall not be grounds for the termination of an appointment or for a refusal by the University to offer re-employment.
5.5 In circumstances where a staff member who is employed on a fixed-term contract of employment is absent on a period of Parental leave at the time when notice of intention to renew or not renew employment with the University is due to be given before the expiry of the contract; the staff member will be offered further employment if the work activity is to continue, except where there could not have been a reasonable expectation of further work .
 For example, if the staff member was employed for a specific task or project or as a replacement staff member.
6. Parental Leave and Annual Leave Management
It is expected that staff members on parental leave will make every effort to take annual leave before taking parental leave to ensure their annual leave balance remains below the maximum set out in the University’s Recreation Leave (including Annual Leave) Policy. If a staff member takes annual leave during a period of Extended Parental Leave Without Pay this will not extend the period of unpaid parental leave.
7. Wellbeing Considerations During Pregnancy
The University is committed to the wellbeing of all staff members. Considerations regarding the wellbeing of pregnant staff members specifically are as follows:
7.1 A female staff member who is certified by a registered medical practitioner to be unable to work due to a pregnancy-related illness is entitled to unpaid special parental leave. She may use personal leave, accrued annual or long service leave (where other leave has exhausted) to cover this period until six (6) weeks prior to the expected date of birth, at which time paid parental leave shall commence.
7.2 Where, in the opinion of a registered medical practitioner, the potential for illness or other risks arising from the pregnancy, or hazards connected with the work assigned to the staff member, make it inadvisable for her to continue at her present work, the University will:
(i) Request information from the medical practitioner as to whether the staff member has the capacity to work and if so what reasonable adjustments are required for the staff member to work in a safe manner, and/or
(ii) Where practicable, transfer the staff member to a safe job at her existing rate of pay.
7.3 If reasonable adjustments or a transfer to a safe job are not practicable options, the staff member may be required to take leave for the period certified as necessary by a registered medical practitioner. This leave will be taken as paid extraordinary leave until six (6) weeks prior to the expected date of birth.
7.4 If a pregnant staff member is temporarily transferred to flexible working arrangements, including part-time employment, immediately prior to taking parental leave, the leave will be paid at the salary rate paid immediately prior to this transfer if the transfer was associated with the pregnancy. The staff member is entitled to return to the position they held immediately before such arrangements were made.
8. Resumption of Duty Following Parental Leave
8.1 A staff member who is absent on parental leave is required to provide a minimum of four (4) weeks written notice to their nominated supervisor, advising them of their intention or non-intention to return to work following the period of parental leave.
8.2 If the staff member requests to return to work on a part-time basis, approval of the application will be made in accordance with the provisions of the Employment of Part-time Staff Policy and clause 5.1.1 of the Agreement, Request for Flexible Working Arrangements, and will be subject to the operational requirement of the organisational unit and the University. A staff member who is a parent or has responsibility for the care of a child and is returning to work after taking leave in relation to the birth of an infant or adoption of a child, may submit a request to a change their working arrangements, Staff are advised to refer to the Flexible Working Arrangements Policy for further information.
Where practicable, a staff member on parental leave will be consulted concerning any significant effects (as defined  including changes to the position they held prior to proceeding on parental leave in accordance with Clause 8.3 of the Agreement.
8.3 Where, as a consequence of organisational change, a position no longer exists, the University will manage the placement of the staff member in accordance with Clause 8.3 of the Agreement, the Major Change, Notice, Redeployment, Redundancy and Voluntary Retirement Policy and the Income Maintenance Policy
8.4 Human Resources will advise nominated supervisors on actions and approvals relating to return to work arrangements in association with this policy.
 “Significant effects” include termination of employment; major changes in the composition, operation or size of the University’s workforce or in the skills required; the elimination or diminution of job opportunities, promotion opportunities or job tenure; the alteration of hours of work; the need for retraining or transfer of its staff to other work or locations; and the restructuring of jobs. Provided that where the Enterprise Agreement makes provision for alteration of any of these matters an alteration is deemed not to have significant effect.
9. Unplanned Cessation of Parental Leave
Should it be necessary to alter parental leave applied for and commenced, due to miscarriage or the death of a child, the following leave will be made available:
|Birth/Adoption||12 weeks paid leave and up to 14 weeks unpaid|
|Leave for Partners||3 weeks paid leave and up to 14 weeks unpaid|
|Extended Parental||14 weeks leave without pay|
10. Revisions made to this Policy
|Date||Major, Minor or Editorial||Description|
|7 March 2018||Major||Definition of ‘primary carer’ for the first 12 weeks of paid parental leave and new addition to align return to work with National Employment Standard.|
|15 October 2019||Major||Updated to incorporate provisions of the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement 2017 - 2021|
The University may make changes to this policy from time to time to improve the effectiveness of its operation. In this regard, any staff member who wishes to make any comments about this policy may forward their suggestions to Human Resources.
11. Further Assistance
Any staff member who requires assistance in understanding this policy should first consult their nominated supervisor who is responsible for the implementation and operation of these arrangements in their work area. Should further information or advice be required staff should visit Service Central.
- Supporting Parents at ACU Information Kit (Information, PDF File, 118.8 KB)
- Parental Leave Policy (Policy, PDF File, 170.4 KB)
|Policy applies to||
|Policy Status||Revision of Existing Policy|
|Approval Authority||Vice-Chancellor And President|
|Governing Authority||Chief Operating Officer|
|Responsible Officer||Director, Human Resources|
|Date of Last Revision||15/10/2019|
|Effective Date of Last Revision||15/10/2019|
|Date of Policy Review *||01/07/2022|
* Unless otherwise indicated, this policy will still apply beyond the review date.
Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols
- ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement 2017 – 2021
- Paid Parental Leave Act 2010
- Delegations of Authority Policy and Register
- Recreation Leave (including Annual Leave) Policy
- Leave Without Pay Policy
- Management of Staff Unattached from Substantive Position Policy
- Employment of Part Time Staff Policy
- Income Maintenance Policy
- Incremental Progression for Professional Staff Policy
- Incremental Progression for Academic Staff Policy
Page last updated: 2020-03-03
Short url: https://policies.acu.edu.au/136677