Under the Fair Work Act 2009 , employees (including regular casual employees) who have worked with their employer for at least 12 months can take unpaid parental leave when they or their partner are to give birth or adopt a child, or if they experience stillbirth premature birth, or the death of a child.
Employers should be careful when denying requests for extension to unpaid parental leave as employees now have more legal recourse.
Effective 6 June 2023, under the Secure Jobs Better Pay Act 2022, there are changes to how employers need to respond to requests for extending unpaid parental leave. Any employee whose requests have been refused can seek arbitration of a dispute by the Fair work Commission.
Employers should update their workplace policies around requesting an extension to unpaid parental leave.
In addition, be aware that if you ignore a flexible work request for 21 days, you could face the Fair work Commission.
Effective 1 July 2023, under the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender Equality) Act 2023, Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay will be combined into one scheme which will provide eligible parent couples or single parents up to 20 weeks of Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage.
On 26 November 2020, the Fair Work Act 2009 was amended to include new unpaid parental leave entitlements for employees who experience traumatic events during or ahead of their unpaid parental leave. This includes:
premature birth, or
death of a child.
The changes also enable all eligible parents to access up to 30 days of their unpaid parental leave flexibly, complementing similar changes that were made to the Paid Parental Leave scheme in July 2020.
These changes to unpaid parental leave came into effect on 27 November 2020. This means these provisions only apply to a child who is born, or whose placement happens, on or after 27 November 2020.
The article below on Changes to Victorian Long Service Leave was published 13 June 2018
The Victorian Government has announced that key changes to long service leave entitlements will go into effect on 1st November 2018.
Under the new Long Service Leave Act 2018 (VIC) the minimum requirement of continuous employment to be eligible for long service leave has been reduced from ten years to seven years, and employees will be entitled to take their leave one day at a time.
A significant change in the Act will benefit parents, particularly women, who are currently disadvantaged by taking parental leave, thereby breaking continuity of employment. Under the new Long Service Leave Act 2018 (VIC), any period of paid parental leave and up to 12 months’ of unpaid parental leave will count as service, and no amount of parental leave will break continuity of service.
Employers who fail to pay long service leave will also face increased penalties. It is important that employers audit their long service leave records, update their payroll systems and train their managers to comply with these legislative changes.
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