Section One Policy
1.1 Parental Leave
1.2 Definitions
Section Two Maternity and Adoption Leave
2.1 Eligibility
2.2 Entitlement for Paid Leave
2.3 Method of Payment
2.4 Entitlement for Unpaid Leave
2.5 Other Leave
2.6 Rate of pay
Section Three Paternity Leave
3.1 Eligibility
3.2 Entitlements
Section Four General Provisions
4.1 Notification and Application
4.2 Variation of Parental Leave After Commencement of Leave
4.3 Return to Duty on Reduced Hours
4.4 Return to Duty to Substantive Position
4.5 Effect of Parental Leave on Leave Accruals and Service Increments
4.6 Replacement Employee-Staffing Provisions
4.7 Superannuation
4.8 Portability of Service for Paid Parental Leave
Section Five Other Considerations
5.1 Illness Associated with Pregnancy
5.2 Transfer to a More Suitable Position
5.3 Miscarriage
5.4 Stillbirth
5.5 Further Pregnancy whilst on Maternity Leave or Working Reduced Hours associated with Maternity Leave
5.6 Effect of Premature Births on Maternity Leave


This Circular replaces Circulars 87/98, 87/235, 97/2 and 97/133 and Section 7 in the Leave Matters Manual for Public Hospitals and Area Health Services. It should be noted that certain public hospital awards also contain provisions for Parental Leave and those provisions should be read in conjunction with this Circular. The Leave Matters Manual is currently under review and the content of this circular will be included in the revised Manual. References are also made to relevant sections of the New South Wales Industrial Relations Act 1996 for minimum entitlements.

This Circular applies to all employees of area health services, statutory health corporations and affiliated health organisations, as listed in Schedules 1, 2 & 3 of the Health Services Act 1997 which constitute the NSW Health Service and employees of the NSW Ambulance Service only.

All employees of the NSW Health Service and NSW Ambulance Service are covered by these provisions with the exception of:

Refer to Point 4.3 - Regarding Return to Duty on Reduced Hours


Employees may supplement the period of unpaid parental leave with the use of annual and/or long service leave credits.



All eligible employees shall be paid maternity/adoption leave based on the ordinary rate of pay as determined by their individual contract of employment (ie no more than 35 or 38 hours per week). Health services have an obligation to ensure that employees are working the correct hours and that employment records accurately reflect the hours worked for the purposes of salary and leave accrual. Employees must be informed their correct hours of work and understand the impact that a variation to their hours has on salary payments and leave accruals.

Permanent part-time employees "are those employees who are permanently appointed by a health service to work a specified number of hours which are less than those prescribed for a full-time employee." Therefore, if an employee regularly and consistently works either in excess of or less than their contract hours which essentially become the employee's true hours of work, then appropriate action should be taken to adjust those number of specified hours on a permanent basis.

Calculation Of Payment - use of Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexible work practices allow for variation of ordinary weekly hours. Where employees work less than the ordinary contract hours ie those on part-time leave without pay, the following will apply:

Employees who are on part-time leave without pay for a period of 40 calender weeks or less preceding maternity leave, shall be paid maternity leave at the ordinary weekly rate and where the period of part-time leave without pay preceding maternity leave exceeds 40 calender weeks, maternity leave shall be paid at the reduced rate using the formula below:

total number of hours worked during the 40 week period

worked prior to commencing leave divided by the standard hours and

then multiplying this by the normal full-time weekly rate:

ie - normal weekly rate x total P/T hours worked

Normal weekly hours (38) x 40 weeks

The following example is provided and may also be applied to permanent part-time employees:

An employee, working a standard 38 hour week and paid an award rate of $500.00per week, has approval to work 4 days/week (1 day/week LWOP). This arrangement was approved when the employee found she was pregnant and lasted 20 weeks. At 20 weeks she decreased her working week firstly to 3 days/week (2 days/week LWOP) for 10 weeks and again to 2 days/week (3 days/week LWOP) before commencing paid maternity leave.

Hence, in the 40 weeks prior to commencing maternity leave, the employee will have worked:

20 weeks @ 4 days/week = 20 x 4 x 7 = 560hrs

10 weeks @ 3 days/week = 20 x 3 x 7 = 210hrs

10 weeks @ 2 days/week = 20 x 2 x 7 = 140hrs

Total hours worked over the 40 weeks = 910 hours

Calculation of paid maternity leave: $500.00 x 910 = $299.34 per week

38 x 40weeks



The Industrial Relations Act 1996 contains a comprehensive section on Paternity Leave and should be read in conjunction with this Circular.

To be eligible for paternity leave (ie unpaid leave) permanent employees must have completed a minimum of 52 weeks continuous service, prior to the anticipated date of taking leave and complies with the other provisions of the Industrial Relations Act 1996.


Paternity Leave consists of a period of unpaid leave not exceeding 52 weeks and may be taken as follows:

(a) an unbroken period of up to one week at the time of birth of the child or other termination of the pregnancy (short paternity leave), and

(b) a further unbroken period in order to be the primary caregiver of the child (extended paternity leave)

Other Leave:

Where an employee does not qualify for paternity leave in accordance with the above, leave without pay may be applied for in the normal manner. Furthermore the employee may supplement the period of leave without pay or unpaid paternity leave with the use of annual and/or long service leave credits.



4.1.1 Maternity Leave

Employees intending to proceed on paid and/or unpaid maternity leave should notify the employer of such intention as early as possible, so that arrangements associated with the absence can be made. Furthermore the employee must provide the health service with written notice of not less than eight weeks prior to the commencement of the leave and submit the appropriate leave application form.

4.1.2 Adoption Leave

Due to the fact that an employee may be given little notice of the date of taking custody of a child, employees who believe that, in the reasonably near future, they will take custody of a child, should formally notify the employer as soon as possible of the intention to take adoption leave and complete the appropriate leave application form. This will allow arrangements associated with the adoption leave to be made.

4.1.3 Paternity Leave

Employees intending to proceed on paternity leave must provide the health service with written notice of their intention to take leave not less than ten weeks prior to the commencement of the leave and preferably as early as possible. Furthermore employees must submit the appropriate leave application form at least 4 weeks before intending to proceed on leave.

4.1.4 Application Form

The application form should also provide the following information:

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