Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Human Resources - Central Unit
Date Approved
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Parental Leave (including Partner Leave)

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy defines the nature and purpose of parental leave and partner leave, setting out entitlements, eligibility criteria and other conditions that apply.

The provisions of this policy do not apply to casual employees.


"Approved Delegate" means a position granted authority to act on behalf of the Vice Chancellor with varied levels of authority in line with the University's Delegations.

"Child" means a child born to, or legally adopted by, an employee or an employee's partner.

"Continuous service" means a period of service at the University without a break (continuous employment) or with a break not exceeding a period of two weeks.

"Employee" means a person employed by the University who has an ongoing or fixed term contract under the terms of the following Agreements (as amended or replaced from time to time): Academic Staff Agreement, Professional & General Staff Agreement, ELICOS Teachers Agreement* and Child Care Employees Agreement* (*fourteen weeks paid Parental Leave only).

"Employee couple" means a couple who are both employed at the University.

"FTE" means full time equivalent: i.e., an FTE of 1.0 means an employee is equivalent to full-time, while an FTE of 0.5 means the employee is only half-time or fractional.

"Parental Leave" means the period of absence of up to 104 weeks provided for under this policy. The period of 104 weeks may include paid and unpaid parental leave and other accrued leave, but not personal leave, taken during this period.

"Partner" means a person who is a spouse, de facto or same sex partner.

"Primary Caregiver" means the employee who will assume the principal role for the care and attention of the child/children.

"Qualifying service" means the period of service required in order to qualify for parental leave at the University.

"Replacement employee" means an employee specifically engaged to replace an employee proceeding on parental leave.

"Supervisor" means the person who is responsible for day-to-day supervision of the employee.

"Time off in lieu of payment" (TOIL) refers to the provisions for calculation and payment of overtime and TOIL as set out in the General Staff Agreement.

"University" means The University of Western Australia.

Policy statement:

1 Parental leave eligibility

1.1 Employees responsible for the provision of primary care to a child are entitled to a period of up to 104 weeks parental leave for the:

  • birth of their child or their partner's child, or
  • adoption of a child who is not the birth child of the employee or the employee's partner, is under the age of 16, and has not lived continuously with the employee for six months or longer.

1.2 Employees who have been identified as the primary caregiver at the time the parental leave is to commence, are eligible for paid leave as follows:

1.2.1 Employees who have completed 12 months but less than five years continuous service are entitled to 26 weeks paid parental leave at full pay or 52 weeks at half pay.

The paid parental leave must conclude within 26 weeks (at full pay) or 52 weeks (at half pay) of the date of birth or placement of the child.

1.2.2 Employees who have completed five or more years' continuous service are entitled to 36 weeks paid parental leave at full pay or 72 weeks at half pay.

The paid parental leave must conclude within 36 weeks (at full pay) or 72 weeks (at half pay) of the date of birth or placement of the child.

1.2.3 Employees who have not completed 12 months continuous service at the time the parental leave is to commence, are entitled to 104 weeks unpaid parental leave.

1.3 If less than the standard parental leave period is taken, the unused portion of the paid or unpaid leave cannot be preserved in any way.

2 Research grant funded employees

2.1 Employees on fixed term contracts are entitled to parental leave, however, the period of leave granted shall not extend beyond the term of that contract.

2.2 Employees employed on a second or subsequent research grant funded contract, whose

  • employment ends because of the expiry of their contract, and
  • subsequently resume employment within six weeks of the expiry of that contract, and
  • have not received a severance payment in accordance with Schedule F - Professional & General Staff Agreement and/or Schedule B - Academic Staff Agreement,

will be deemed to have had continuous service for the purpose of calculating eligibility for parental leave.

2.3 Employees cannot have their employment terminated on the grounds of a parental leave application or absence on parental leave. This does not affect the rights of the University to terminate employment for other contractual reasons, or the expiry of a fixed term contract at the end of the contract period.

2.4 Paid and unpaid parental leave, up to a maximum of 104 weeks, may be shared between employee couples when in the role of primary Caregiver.

2.5 Employee couples may take paid or unpaid parental and partner leave concurrently for a maximum of three weeks on approval of the University.

2.6 An employee's entitlement to paid parental leave is not available concurrently to any paid parental leave entitlement through their partner's employer, and will be reduced by any period of parental leave taken by their partner in respect of birth or adoption of the same child.

2.7 To be eligible for second and subsequent paid parental leave, employees must return to work on each occasion:

  • for at least 12 months continuous service, and
  • at 50% or more of the FTE the employee held prior to commencing their previous parental leave (and not less than 0.4 FTE).

2.8 Employees not meeting the requirements of subclause 2.7 are entitled to 14 weeks paid parental leave for a second or subsequent period of parental leave.

3 Pay

3.1 For the purposes of this policy only, employees may access recreation leave, as part of their parental leave, at full pay or half pay. The paid parental leave referred to in subclause 1.2 is part of the 104 week parental leave entitlement.

3.2 Paid parental leave counts as qualifying service for all purposes.

3.3 Unpaid parental leave shall not break continuity of service, but shall not count for service.

3.4 Parental leave is paid at the salary rate the employee is receiving at the time of commencing on the leave.

3.5 Employees on any form of paid leave during the 104 week parental leave period may apply for payment in the following way:

  • on a fortnightly basis,
  • in advance,
  • at double the period of entitlement on half pay (on agreement with their supervisor, and/or
  • by conversion of a maximum period of 50% of an academic's paid parental leave entitlement into an approved University account for the purposes of re-establishing an academic career. In this instance the paid parental leave entitlement will be reduced by the same period.

3.6 Where the employee elects to access their parental leave at half pay, superannuation contributions will be made on a pro rata basis.

4 Working while pregnant and working on leave

4.1 Pregnant employees, who are exposed to risks or hazards through their work, or who suffer illness which makes it inadvisable to continue in their role, have the option to produce a certificate from a certified medical practitioner and request

  • that their duties be modified, or
  • a transfer to a safe position paid at the same classification level.

4.2 Where there is no safe position available, the employee is entitled to take paid 'no safe job' leave for the period the employee is deemed to be at risk.

4.3 Employees transferred to a safe position are entitled to return to the position occupied immediately prior to transfer.

4.4 Employees will be consulted by the work area if there are any proposed organisational changes that are likely to have a significant effect on their position.

4.5 Employees on parental leave can undertake:

  • occasional casual employment while on unpaid parental leave, or,
  • fractional employment with the University combined with paid leave to a maximum of 1 FTE, where the substantive position is less than 1 FTE. The FTE of an employee's substantive position plus any additional fractional appointment must not exceed 1FTE.

4.6 Employees may resign, in writing, at any time during the period of leave.

4.7 Prior to appointment of a replacement employee, the supervisor will inform the applicant of the fixed term nature of the appointment, including the entitlements of the pregnant employee relating to return to work.

5 Commencement of parental leave

5.1 Pregnant employees may commence paid or unpaid parental leave any time within six weeks before the expected date of birth and no later than the date of birth or placement of the child.

5.2 Application may be made to the Director, Human Resources to commence paid parental leave up to 20 weeks before the expected date of birth, on either medical or compassionate grounds.

5.3 A primary caregiver other than a pregnant employee, with an entitlement to 26 or 36 weeks paid parental leave, may commence paid parental leave from the birth date or adoption placement date, but must conclude within 26 or 36 weeks of the date of birth or adoption placement date (determined by eligibility in terms of sub-clause 2.4 above).

5.4 The 104 weeks parental leave will be deemed to have commenced on the first day an employee is on annual leave or long service leave during the six weeks prior to the birth or placement of a child.

6 Notice required for application or variation to application for parental leave

6.1 Employees must give at least 10 weeks' notice, in writing, of the date they are commencing paid and/or unpaid parental leave and the period of leave to be taken. The exact timing and duration of the leave must be arranged with their supervisor.

6.2 A shorter notice period is acceptable in the case of a premature birth, if the adoption agency requires an earlier placement of the child, or in other unforeseen circumstances.

6.3 Employees may reduce or extend the period of leave advised on their original application once only by providing a minimum of four weeks' written notice.

7 Adoption of a child

7.1 Employees adopting a child are entitled to reasonable unpaid leave to attend interviews or examinations required for the adoption procedure. Other accrued leave can be taken in lieu of this entitlement.

7.2 Employees who have been granted leave for an adoption which does not eventuate, will have their parental leave terminated. Paid or unpaid personal leave for a period certified by a medical practitioner will be granted, or the employee may apply to return to work.

8 Other leave entitlements

8.1 Employees can substitute unpaid parental leave with any combination of accrued annual recreation leave or long service leave or TOIL for all or part of the period, as long as the aggregate of leave does not exceed 104 weeks.

8.2 For the purposes of this policy only, and as part of the 104 weeks parental leave period, employees may access recreation leave at half pay.

8.3 For the purposes of this policy only, employees do not have to exhaust all other leave entitlements before applying for leave without pay within a parental leave period.

8.4 Employees who have used all other leave entitlements may apply for leave without pay following the 104 week parental leave period. The University's approval is required for this additional leave, and will be conditional on the particular circumstances pertaining to the employee and the operational requirements of the University.

8.5 Employees on parental leave are not entitled to paid sick leave and other paid absences except in circumstances outlined in subclauses 5.2 and 7.2 and clause 10 of this policy.

8.6 Pregnant employees not yet on parental leave, who suffer an illness related to the pregnancy or are required to undergo a pregnancy related medical procedure, may access paid or unpaid Personal Leave.

9 Resumption of duties

9.1 Employees returning from parental leave are entitled to the same position or a position equivalent in level, conditions and status, and appropriate to the employee's skill and abilities as the substantive position held immediately prior to parental leave.

9.2 Employees may return on a part-time or job-share basis to their substantive, an equivalent or different position at the same classification level as that occupied prior to the commencement of the leave.

9.3 The University is to be advised in writing at least six weeks prior to the return due date of an employee's wish to return on a part-time or job share basis. The duration of the part-time period must be negotiated with the work area. Return at part-time is subject to work area convenience and will be confirmed in writing.

9.4 Employees who return on a part-time basis may revert to full-time at the same classification within two years of returning to work. Any request to revert to full time, or to increase fraction prior to the expiry of the negotiated period may only be refused by the University on reasonable business grounds.

9.5 An application to resume duty within six weeks after the day on which the pregnancy ends, must be supported by a certificate from a registered medical practitioner or midwife, indicating that the employee is fit to resume duty. The early return to duty is subject to faculty, school or section convenience but should not be unreasonably denied.

10 Bereavement

10.1 If an employee's pregnancy terminates, they are entitled to a period of paid or unpaid personal leave which has been certified as necessary by a registered practitioner.

10.2 If an employee has a medically defined late pregnancy miscarriage, gives birth to a stillborn child, or the child dies following the birth, the pregnant employee retains an entitlement to up to 14 weeks paid parental leave.

11 Partner leave

11.1 Purpose and duration of partner leave

11.1.1 Employees who are not the primary Caregiver are entitled to a period of up to three weeks paid or unpaid Partner Leave anytime in the 3 months immediately after the date of birth or placement of an adopted child to their partner.

11.2 Eligibility and entitlement to partner leave

11.2.1 Employees who have completed 12 months or more continuous service at the time of birth or placement of the child, are entitled to Partner Leave of 3 weeks of which 2 weeks is paid leave and 1 week is unpaid.

11.2.2 Employees who have completed less than 12 months continuous service at the time of birth or placement of the child, are entitled to 3 weeks unpaid Partner Leave.

11.3 Partner leave can be taken as a minimum of 1 day at a time and up to 3 weeks in total.

11.4 Documentation

11.4.1 The University may request supporting documentation, such as a birth certificate, to enable processing of the leave application.

12 Parental leave documentation

12.1 Supporting documentation is to be forwarded to enable processing of the leave application.

Application Process and Supporting Documentation:

Download Parental Leave Application Form

Complete all sections of the form and attach:

- medical confirmation of pregnancy with estimated date of birth/a statement of intention to adopt with estimated date of placement; and

- Declaration confirming role as primary caregiver (if applicable)

Pass form to Delegated Authority for approval

Send form to your Human Resources Officer Transactions for processing

After the birth/adoption forward the following documentation to your Human Resources Officer Transactions

A medical/birth certificate confirming the date of birth, or appropriate documentation from the relevant adoption agency confirming the date of placement.

Related forms:

Parental Leave Application Form

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

HR Advisor, Employee Relations

Related Policies or legislation:

Professional and General Staff Agreement

Academic Staff Agreement

ELICOS Teachers Agreement

Childcare Employees Agreement

Personal Leave (Illness, Injury and Caring) Policy

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