Parental Leave for Casual Employees

For casual employees the unpredictability of their employment can be a major source of stress as often casual employees miss out on many of the entitlements that full-time and part-time employees enjoy.

For many, this concern is further exacerbated when they learn that they are about to become a parent. It should therefore be of some comfort to know that expectant parents may still be entitled to parental leave even though they are a casual employee.

Are you a Casual Employee?

Generally speaking, a casual employee is employed by the hour rather than being employed on an ongoing permanent or part time basis. As a result, there is no entitlement to ongoing employment or many of the other benefits, such as leave, that full-time and part-time employees enjoy.

Are you entitled to unpaid maternity leave?

Casual employees are eligible for unpaid leave if they satisfy the following criteria under section 67 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

(a) they have been working with their employer on a regular and systemic basis for at least 12 months before the date (or expected date) of birth or adoption;

(b) but for the birth or expected birth of the child, there is a reasonable expectation of ongoing employment; and

(c) they are responsible for the newborn child.

Are you entitled to paid maternity leave?

In order for casual employees to be eligible for paid parental leave, they must satisfy the following criteria under section 31 of the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth). A casual employee will be eligible if:

(a) they are an Australian resident;

(b) they are the primary carer of the child;

(c) within the 13 months prior to birth, they have worked at least 330 hours in a consecutive 10 month period (just over one day a week);

(d) they have an individual income of no more than $150,000.00 in the preceding year; and

(e) they are not, or have a partner or ex-partner who is, entitled to the baby bonus.

For more information about employee entitlements contact Sarelle Woodward, Senior Associate.

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