- Pregnant employees continue to receive their normal sick leave entitlements at work.Pregnancy does not cause an injury or illness. A pregnant employee can take sick leave if they are diagnosed with a pregnancy-related injury or illness.
Learn more about sick and caregiver’s leave.
Pregnant employees who are eligible for unpaid parental leaves can take unpaid special maternal leave if they meet the following conditions:
- They have a pregnancy-related disease
- They have had a miscarriage.
An employee who takes a special maternity leave due to a pregnancy-related sickness will be terminated when the illness or pregnancy ends.
An employee can take leave for a miscarriage, termination, or until they are fit to work again.
The employee will not be eligible to take a special maternity leave if their baby is stillborn. However, they may be eligible to unpaid parental or compassionate leave.
The amount of unpaid parental time an employee can take is not reduced by taking special maternity leave
Medical certificates and notice
Employees will need to inform their employers that they are taking special maternity leaves as soon as possible. This can happen after the leave has begun. It is also important to inform your employer when you expect to be gone.
An employer may ask for proof and request a medical certificate.
Employees may take compassionate leave if they are:
- A member of their immediate household dies or is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease
- A baby stillborn in their immediate household or family.
- They have a miscarriage
- Their current spouse or de facto companion has had a miscarriage.
Learn more about the rights to compassionate leave at Compassionate and Bereavement Leave.
All pregnant employees, even casuals, have the right to transfer to a safer job if they are unable to do their regular job due to their pregnancy. This applies to employees who aren’t eligible or paid for parental leave.
Employees who move to a safer job will still receive the same pay, hours worked and other entitlements as they did in their regular job. Both the employer and the employee can agree to different work hours. The employee will remain until the time it is safe for them to return to their regular job or until they have had children.
An employee must show proof that their employer has given them.
- They can work, but are unable to do their regular job (includes why it isn’t safer), and
- How long they should not work outside of their regular job.
An employer may request a medical certificate.
If there is no job that’s safe
Employees cannot take safe job leaves if there isn’t a safe job. Unpaid parental leave is not available to employees.
No safe job leave is granted to a part-time or full-time employee at the normal rate for work hours.
Casuals are not eligible for safe job leaves. They will be paid at the base rate (not including casual loading) for the hours they worked during the leave period.
Employees without parental leave rights can’t take unpaid leave from their job.
Directing employees for parental leave
A pregnant employee can request a medical certificate from their employer within seven days stating:
- They can continue to work
- They can safely do their regular job.
An employee who is certified fit to work but cannot continue their regular job due to illness or injury will be eligible for a job with a safety job.
An employer may direct an employee to take unpaid parental leave if they don’t have a valid medical certificate or say that they are unable to continue working.
Unpaid parental leave begins when an employee is directed to take unpaid time off. It will be counted as part of their total unpaid parental leaves entitlement
Let’s say that the employee had planned to take parental leaves after the baby was born. The employee can take the directed leave in addition to the other parental leave.
Pregnant employees cannot be discriminated against. An employee cannot be fired, demoted, or treated differently because they’re pregnant.