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Parental leave FAQs

By CCIWA Editor

Confused about parental leave? We answer your most frequently asked questions.

No. An employee who takes parental leave must take one continuous unbroken period of leave.

If the employer agrees, an employee whose period of unpaid parental leave has started may reduce the period of unpaid parental leave he or she takes. There is no requirement on the employee’s behalf to provide four weeks’ notice in this situation.

Yes. An employer is required to place an employee in the pre-parental leave position or if that position no longer exists, an available position for which the employee is qualified and suited nearest in status and pay to the pre-parental leave position. 

If an employee has taken 12 months of parental leave, they have the right to request to extend that leave for a further 12 months. An employee in an employee couple can also make this request only if the other member has not taken their full 12 months unpaid parental leave. 

The employee must make this request in writing and provide it to the employer at least four weeks before their original return date. 

An employer can only refuse this request on reasonable business grounds, for example:  

  • • an inability to replace the employee  
  • • an inability of existing staff to manage workload  
  • • the financial effect on the business 

The employer must respond in writing within 21 days of receiving the request.  

No. Carole’s actions fall under the ‘permissible purpose’ definition under the act which allows her to perform the work without it counting as a keeping in touch day.

Yes, either carer can take unpaid parental leave. If the dad was the primary carer and the mum wanted to return to work instead the same rules apply. 

Employers requiring further information about this topic or the Employment Lifecycle Kit should contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660, email or visit CCIWA’s website at

Confused about parental leave? We answer your most frequently asked questions.
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