When you have an employee who is requesting parental leave, the onus is not just on the employer to ensure all the requirements are managed, employees also have responsibilities in informing their employers of their intentions. This sometimes is missed by both parties, so its best as an employer for you to understand the requirements and ensure that either you or your employees follow these.
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It is the responsibility of the employee to notify their employer at least 10 weeks prior to taking parental leave, if not before. Also if the employee wishes to work 6 weeks leading up to the expecting birth date, the employer can request a medical certificate to state the employee is fit to perform work and if they can continue their current position during this time.
The employee should also put in writing at least 4 weeks prior to taking leave, the amount of time which they intend to take off. An employee is entitled to take 12 months of unpaid parental leave and also to request an additional 12 months.
Questions which are common for business owners at this time is what happens if my employee states they will take 12 months parental leave how do I manage with a replacement. Do I get in a contractor for this time? What happens if the employee says they want to come back to work before the 12 months is up?
If an employee wishes to return to work earlier then expected you can assess the request and if it suits the business for this to occur then you can agree to their request. If you have a contractor in that role for parental leave you can refuse to have the employee return to work earlier than agreed.
The Australian Government has put out a great initiative about supporting parents at work, this provides you with more information about keeping in touch with your employee during this time.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to give us a call, we can assist you with any questions you may have.