Articles and legal news from the Atkinson Vinden Team.

Am I Eligible For Maternity Leave?

Employment Law, General

If you are about to give birth or adopt a child, there are a number of parental entitlements you should be aware of. You may be entitled to both paid and unpaid maternity leave.

What is maternity leave?

Maternity leave, also known as parental leave, is leave that can be taken when:

  1. you give birth;
  2. your spouse or de facto partner gives birth; or
  3. you adopt a child under 16 years of age.

Can I get maternity leave?

To be eligible for unpaid maternity leave you must:

  1. Have worked for your employer for at least 12 months:
    • before the date or expected date of birth if you are pregnant;
    • before the date of the adoption; or
    • when the leave started (if the leave is taken after another person cared for your child or takes maternity leave).
  2. Have or will have responsibility for the care of a child.

Am I eligible for maternity leave as a casual employee?

You may be eligible for maternity leave as a casual employee if:

  1. You have been employed by the same company on a regular and systemic basis for at least 12 months; and
  2. There is a reasonable expectation that you will continue to work for the company on a regular and systemic basis.

What are my maternity leave entitlements?

Unpaid maternity leave is 12 months, plus an additional 12 months in some circumstances.

You are entitled to return to your position or any similar position available on completion of your parental leave.

In your role, you will have an entitlement to request flexible working arrangements, if necessary.

Am I eligible for paid parental leave?

The Government has a paid parental leave scheme to provide a minimum paid period of leave after you have had your baby or adopted a child, if you will be the primary carer.

There are a number of tests you must meet to qualify for the Government Scheme:

  1. You must have completed a minimum amount of work in the 13 months before you take parental leave;
  2. You must earn less than $150,000 of taxable income in the relevant financial year prior to caring for the newborn or adopted child;
  3. You must meet the Australian residency test;
  4. You must be the primary carer of the newborn or adopted child; and
  5. You cannot have resumed your employment.

In addition to the Government Scheme, large corporations occasionally provide additional paid maternity leave in accordance with a parental leave policy.


Protecting your reputation starts with simplifying the complex. This handy checklist should quickly point you in the right direction and help you understand whether you have a case, and where to start to secure the best possible outocme.