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Home > News > 2020 > September > Members win modernised parental leave

Members win modernised parental leave

Parental_leave_graphic.pngMembers in Queensland Catholic schools have secured enhanced parental leave entitlements that provide improved options for modern families.


Under the new collective agreement, currently pending approval by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), gender specific language has been generally removed from parental leave provisions.


This change extends parental leave options to all employees, regardless of gender, to better reflect modern parenting roles and provide greater flexibility to families.


In 2019, 94.9% of employees who accessed parental leave as the primary caregiver to their child were women, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Conversely, 94% of employees who accessed secondary parental leave in the same period were men.


IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Rebecca Sisson said improved parental leave options, like those won by IEUA-QNT members in Queensland Catholic schools, would likely see these statistics change over time.


“It’s important that workplaces support employees to balance work and parenting in the way that best suits their families,” Rebecca said.


“All eligible employees in Queensland Catholic schools now have the option to access leave as the primary caregiver of their child, regardless of their gender, if they choose to do so.


“This is a very significant outcome and it was only achieved due to the strong, united voice of IEUA-QNT members,” Rebecca said.


How the new leave works for modern families

Under the new collective agreement, continuing employees (and fixed-term employees, subject to some conditions) with at least one year of service have access to 14 weeks of parental leave where they will be the primary caregiver.


This primary caregiver leave applies in instances of birth and adoption and can be accessed by employees in different circumstances, including:

  • By a female employee who gives birth to a child and remains the primary caregiver;
  • By an employee who adopts a child and will be the primary caregiver; or
  • By an employee whose partner has given birth to their child and who will be the primary caregiver (provided they have acted as primary caregiver for at least five consecutive working days within the first 14 weeks since the child’s birth).

In addition to the above scenarios, where both parents are employees of Queensland Catholic Education and are eligible for parental leave, they have the option to split the 14 weeks’ leave between them.


Parental leave can also be taken at half pay for double the amount of time.


Employees who are not primary caregivers continue to have access to 10 days of paid spousal leave.


Additionally, these parental leave entitlements do not diminish the federal government’s separate paid parental leave scheme, which offers up to 18 weeks of leave for eligible employees – paid at the minimum wage.


Need specific advice?

If you’re considering your parental leave options, our union’s expert Industrial Team can provide specific advice about the entitlements available within your workplace.


Contact our Industrial Team via industrial@qieu.asn.au or 1800 177 938.

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