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Home > News > 2017 > August > Maintaining membership during unpaid leave vital

Maintaining membership during unpaid leave vital


A recent case involving a former IEUA-QNT member who felt forced to resign her employment in order to remain a stay at home parent has highlighted the importance of maintaining union membership for support and advice.

The teacher, employed at a large North Queensland single site school, had initially accessed paid maternity leave and then a subsequent year of unpaid leave.

While undertaking unpaid leave, the teacher allowed her IEUA-QNT membership to lapse. 

During this leave, she also became pregnant again and accessed further paid maternity leave available under the collective agreement covering her workplace.

However, when seeking to access a second period of unpaid maternity leave, the former member faced opposition from her employer, who cited ‘operational reasons’ in denying the request for further leave.

As the teacher was no longer an IEUA-QNT member, our union could not provide industrial assistance in the matter.

The teacher felt she was left with no option other than to resign from her position in order to continue taking leave to care for her children. 

As a result she lost all accrued entitlements to sick leave and long service leave as well as the option to return to her previous position after parental leave.

This unfortunate outcome highlights the importance of maintaining union membership during unpaid leave. 

Our union offers full membership to employees on unpaid leave at a cost of just $3.50 per fortnight.

Requesting leave and transitioning back to employment after periods of leave can be problematic, as employers do not always easily agree to employee requests. 

Our union can provide members with advice, support and industrial representation during such cases.

Our Member Services and Industrial Services team is only a phone call away when members need support. Contact us on 1800 177 938 or enquiries@qieu.asn.au 

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.