It is common that couples, either one or both of them, will take unpaid parental leave when expecting a new addition to their family. In order to take unpaid parental leave, you, as the employee, need to give sufficient notice to your employer. You will be entitled to unpaid parental leave if you:
– Inform your employer of your contention to take unpaid parental leave at least 10 weeks in advance, via written notice;
– Specify the start and end dates of the unpaid parental leave; and
– Confirm at least four weeks before the intended start date, whilst also advising the employer of any changes to the start and end dates.
However, it is common that the parent will want to take a form of paid leave during this time, so they will have a form of income in the later months. Thus, the question arises, can employees have concurrent leave entitlements?
Annual Leave and Long Service Leave
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), Section 79 provides guidelines for interaction with paid leave. In this section, it denotes that an employee is entitled to take annual leave during unpaid parental leave, if they wish to do so. Long service leave may also be taken during unpaid parental leave; however, this is dependent on the State or Territory in which you reside in. Consult one of the lawyers from McDonald Murholme if you require assistance with this.
It is important to note that the weeks of annual leave do not extend the weeks of unpaid parental leave. Instead, they will run at the same time. It will not disrupt the continuity of the period of unpaid parental leave.
Sick leave, Carers leave, Compassionate leave and Community Service Leave
In regards to other forms of paid leave, the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) denotes that an employee cannot take sick leave, carers leave, compassionate leave or community service leave (in relation to activities an employee takes during parental leave) whilst on unpaid parental leave.
However, employees on employer funded paid parental leave can take paid sick leave, carers leave or compassionate leave.
It is necessary to note that if you are on unpaid parental leave, you will not accumulate any type of paid leave. This includes leave such as annual leave or sick leave. The only time you may accumulate pay leave is if you are on employer-funded paid parental leave.
If you have any further questions in regards to concurrent leave entitlements or other employment law matters, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers at McDonald Murholme.