Going on parental leave

Last updated: 28 Apr 2016

This page is: archived

Managers and employees alike have responsibilities when it comes to parental leave. When reading this factsheet, it is worth also looking at the factsheet for maangers about parental leave.

The arrival of a baby is an exciting and significant event in any parent's life. Your hopes and plans for a new baby go hand in hand with questions about your working life. What do I need to do at work? How long do I plan to take parental leave for? And, when I return, how do I balance my family commitments with work?

This checklist is designed to prompt some thinking and discussion between you and your employer, and to help you make the transition into and back from parental leave.

Checklist for employees

Before you go on parental leave

  • Notify your manager of your pregnancy or your partner's pregnancy when you feel comfortable to share the news.
  • Check your agency's enterprise agreement to see if you are eligible to receive paid maternity or paternity leave. This depends on your length of continuous service and the length varies between agencies. Talk to your Human Resources area if unsure.
  • For women, you will need to obtain evidence such as a medical certificate with the estimated date of birth. This will assist you to calculate when to go on parental leave and will certify your eligibility to access parental leave.
  • For women, if you are planning to work within the required absence period (six weeks prior to your estimated date of birth) it is a good idea to speak with your human resources team to see what is required. Some agencies, for example, ask employees to provide a medical certificate for each week worked in that six-week period.
  • Consider whether you will need flexible working arrangements on your return from parental leave and flag with your manager if you intend on requesting flexible arrangements. This is not a binding agreement on either side but rather a courtesy heads-up to assist your manager in workforce planning.
  • Apply for parental leave and any other leave you wish to take during your absence by formally submitting a request through your Human Resources system. You may also wish to research your eligibility for the government-funded Paid Parental Leave scheme.
  • Ensure all your work is completed and handovers to other team members are done.
  • Closer to your last day, pack away any personal belongings and mark the box for storage. Set an out-of-office email alert indicating that you will be on extended leave. Ensure you put the contact details of your manager or a nominated colleague to guide any queries.
  • If you have one, ensure your corporate credit card statements are finalised and check with your finance team what you need to do with your card while on leave.
  • Depending on your agency and length of your leave, you may need to fill out an exit forms. Check with your manager and/or human resources team.
  • Contact IT in your agency about your upcoming parental leave. Discuss any additional equipment you may have, such as mobile or remote access token, and what you will need to do with it.
  • Ask Security if you can leave your pass with them on your last day and whether you can access it during leave for visits to the workplace.
  • Keep a record of contact details that you may need, such as the human resources team, and your manager.

During your parental leave

  • The level of engagement you want while on leave is a personal choice that will be respected by management. If you wish to check in regularly with what is happening in the organisation, ask your IT area if you can access emails during your leave. You may also want to maintain regular contact with your supervisor on the current status of your team or work program. Some agencies also run regular drop-in sessions with staff on parental leave.
  • Contact your human resources team around six weeks prior to your scheduled return to confirm the date. If you wish to extend your parental leave, then give formal notification of the revised return date and ensure a copy goes to your manager. You may need to discuss your proposed arrangements if your leave extension will mean you end up having more than 24 months unpaid leave from work.
  • If you have been on extended parental leave, confirm with human resources that a workplace assessment has been arranged.
  • If you would like to return to work on a flexible working arrangement, discuss this with your manager and submit an application. Ideally this should happen at least four weeks prior to your return so your manager has time to consider the request, arrange work schedules, and also notify human resources if a variable working hours form needs to be processed.