Maternity Leave Act review
The Review of the Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973 (Maternity Leave Act) is now available.
The Review is the result of extensive stakeholder consultation, receiving nearly 190 public submissions from Commonwealth agencies, individuals, academics, employee networks, unions and peak bodies. The Review was also informed by an Expert Advisory Group of representatives from various Commonwealth agencies providing either specialist or HR expertise.
The Review proposes 26 outcomes aimed at increasing support to new parents to transition into and succeed in family life, and to protect and advance women’s economic equality. It also aims to provide employee parents and their employing agencies with greater flexibility and ease the administrative burden associated with the current legislation.
The Review recommends that a new Act is required to provide a contemporary framework of parental leave support that is flexible and inclusive of all parents and families in the Commonwealth workforce.
The Government will consider the Review, and any changes to legislation or other recommended entitlements will be subject to future decisions.
In the meantime, entitlements under the Maternity Leave Act continue to be available to eligible employees, as well as any benefits provided in individual agency enterprise agreements.
As an interim step, there is an opportunity to consider some aspects of the parental leave recommendations as a proposed common condition in the current APS Bargaining process.
The Review was initiated by the previous Commissioner, Mr Peter Woolcott AO, as the first substantial review of the Maternity Leave Act in more than 40 years.
The Maternity Leave Act currently provides leave entitlements for employees of the Australian Public Service and of certain other Australian Government agencies who are pregnant and give birth to a child.
The Review focussed on health and flexibility, streamlining administration requirements, paid maternity leave entitlements, the health and career needs of birth mothers, and superannuation entitlements while on parental leave.