Employees gain 4-week extension to parental leave

Keith Canavan

July 30 2019

We provided an update on new family-friendly benefits in May. The first change involves an extension of unpaid parental leave entitlements which come into effect from the 1st September.

What are the key changes?

The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 introduces two key changes:

  • The entitlement to parental leave increases from the current 18 weeks' duration to 26 weeks; and
  • The age of an eligible child increases from 8 to 12.

When do the changes come into effect?

The 8-week extension to unpaid parental leave will be introduced over two years to reduce the potential for disruption on employers.

The first 4 weeks become available to qualifying employees from 1st September 2019 and the full 8 weeks will be available from 1st September 2020.

What about employees who have already taken parental leave?

If you have employees who have already availed of a portion or all of their existing entitlement to 18 weeks of parental leave, these employees will be entitled to avail of the additional eight weeks’ unpaid parental leave subject to the restrictions outlined above.

What is the impact on employers?

The extension of unpaid parental leave will place a greater demand on employers from a workforce planning point of view. Arranging cover for a longer period of leave is likely to be a significant challenge for many employers.

The new law also increases recording-keeping requirements. Under the new law, your business will be required to keep records of parental leave taken by employees for 12 years, or until the child for whom the leave was taken reaches the age of 12, whichever is sooner.

Need help with upcoming parental leave changes?

Call 1890 252 923 to speak with an employment law expert today or if you would like one of our advisors to call you back, fill in your details here.

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