Your Guide to Parental Leave Laws

Enrique Estagle

13 November 2017    |   

Today we’re going to take a closer look at how Australia, the UK, and the US implement maternity and paternity leave. Australia Parental Leave According to the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman website, employees are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave when they or their spouse or partner gives birth. Regular employees are qualified for parental leave if they have been working for an employer for at least 12 months before the date of birth. Casual employees are also qualified if they have been working for their employer on a regular basis for at least 12 months before the date of birth. Australia also has paid maternity leave. According to the Department of Human Services, qualified mothers get 18 weeks pay at minimum wage while recovering from childbirth and taking care of their newborn. This is funded by the government but paid through the employer. The business has to register in order for their staff to receive this benefit. UK Parental Leave The United Kingdom has different guidelines for maternity and paternity leave, as stated on the gov.uk website. UK Maternity Leave Qualified mothers are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, broken down as: First 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave, and The last 26 weeks of additional maternity leave Mothers are not compelled to take the entire 52-week entitlement, but they are required to take 2 weeks time off after the baby is born. If the mother works in a factory, they are required to take 4 weeks time off. They can start as early as 11 weeks before the expected birth week. In addition, mothers are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or SMP up to 39 weeks of their leave. They’ll receive: 90% of their average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks, and £140.98 or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks To qualify, the mother has to be classified as an employee (which they can find out here.) There is no minimum time a mother has to work with her current employer the government requires in order to receive this entitlement. UK Paternity Leave Qualified husbands or partners of the newborn’s mother can get up to two weeks time off from work. They can only start after the birth of their child and must end within 56 days after the birth date. Throughout their time off, husbands or partners receive statutory paternity pay of £140.98 or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. To qualify, the husband or partner has to be classified as an employee and has been working for their employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. US Parental Leave On the Federal level, the United States Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA entitle 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave for qualified mothers and their partners. For employees to be qualified, first they have to be working for a “covered employer.” They should either be: A private sector employer that has employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year A local, state, or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs A public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees it employs The employee also has to be working with the employer at least 12 months with at least 1250 hours of service before their leave. Finally, the employee must work at a location where the employer has 50 employees within 75 miles. Different states supplement this federal law with their own version of parental leave laws, with some offering partial pay. Stress-Free Parental Leave with Leave Management Software Tanda’s leave management feature makes it easy to file and approve maternity and paternity leave. Administrators can create a special leave type in Tanda for maternity and paternity leave that their staff can apply for via the employee portal. Once filed, managers instantly see it on the dashboard for their approval. The maternity leave request in Tanda can then be linked to your accounting system and paid out to the employee.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at how Australia, the UK, and the US implement maternity and paternity leave.

Australia Parental Leave

According to the Australian Fair Work Ombudsman website, employees are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave when they or their spouse or partner gives birth.

Regular employees are qualified for parental leave if they have been working for an employer for at least 12 months before the date of birth. Casual employees are also qualified if they have been working for their employer on a regular basis for at least 12 months before the date of birth.

Australia also has paid maternity leave. According to the Department of Human Services, qualified mothers get 18 weeks pay at minimum wage while recovering from childbirth and taking care of their newborn. This is funded by the government but paid through the employer. The business has to register in order for their staff to receive this benefit.

UK Parental Leave

The United Kingdom has different guidelines for maternity and paternity leave, as stated on the gov.uk website.

UK Maternity Leave

Qualified mothers are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, broken down as:

  • First 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave, and
  • The last 26 weeks of additional maternity leave

Mothers are not compelled to take the entire 52-week entitlement, but they are required to take 2 weeks time off after the baby is born. If the mother works in a factory, they are required to take 4 weeks time off.

They can start as early as 11 weeks before the expected birth week.

In addition, mothers are entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay or SMP up to 39 weeks of their leave. They’ll receive:

  • 90% of their average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks, and
  • £140.98 or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks

To qualify, the mother has to be classified as an employee (which they can find out here.) There is no minimum time a mother has to work with her current employer the government requires in order to receive this entitlement.

UK Paternity Leave

Qualified husbands or partners of the newborn’s mother can get up to two weeks time off from work. They can only start after the birth of their child and must end within 56 days after the birth date.

Throughout their time off, husbands or partners receive statutory paternity pay of £140.98 or 90% of their average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

To qualify, the husband or partner has to be classified as an employee and has been working for their employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.

US Parental Leave

On the Federal level, the United States Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA entitle 12 weeks of unpaid maternity and paternity leave for qualified mothers and their partners.

For employees to be qualified, first they have to be working for a “covered employer.” They should either be:

  • A private sector employer that has employed 50 or more employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year
  • A local, state, or Federal government agency, regardless of the number of employees it employs
  • A public or private elementary or secondary school, regardless of the number of employees it employs

The employee also has to be working with the employer at least 12 months with at least 1250 hours of service before their leave.

Finally, the employee must work at a location where the employer has 50 employees within 75 miles.

Different states supplement this federal law with their own version of parental leave laws, with some offering partial pay.

Stress-Free Parental Leave with Leave Management Software

Tanda’s leave management feature makes it easy to file and approve maternity and paternity leave. Administrators can create a special leave type in Tanda for maternity and paternity leave that their staff can apply for via the employee portal. Once filed, managers instantly see it on the dashboard for their approval. The maternity leave request in Tanda can then be linked to your accounting system and paid out to the employee.

Related Posts

Feature Updates    |   

We’re changing leave, especially manual corrections. Here’s how.

Key takeaways We are building towards fully automated leave Features are released in stages over the next 3-6 months Eventually, staff can just enter the leave start and end date We’ll apply the correct hours every time All managers have to do is review and approve Our vision: never having to manually correct leave. Ever. Released in stages over the next 3-6 months We are making leave entry completely automated. In the next few months, you’ll be seeing a series of features, with each release letting you check and approve leave requests faster. The end goal: never having to manually correct leave ever again. Ultimate leave automation: applying contract hours and roster patterns For automated leave to work, it needs to be accurate, too. Otherwise, we’ll always rely on manual entry. So in this feature, we’ll take rostered hours and usual hours worked,  (contractually-bound or verbal). Then we combine them and form the entire leave request—making the hours as accurate as possible. And if you are in 24/7 industries like call centres and fire departments, good news. We’re releasing roster patterns soon. When applied, leave hours are matched with the roster pattern in use. Our end goal: an even higher form of automation Soon, you’ll only see it in a museum. This is what we’re eventually working towards: if we detect a statistically-significant pattern based on previous hours, these days and times get carried to the leave request. So to kill the dinosaurs of manual entry, that’s the great automated leave meteor we’re building. But to get to that, we need to work our way up. One small step for getting rid of manual corrections If a 3-days/week staff member requests a 2-week long leave, they get allocated 14 days leave pay—which is incorrect. So instead of approving, managers delete the leave request and create new ones. This is not an efficient use of time. And we’re happy to say you don’t have to do that anymore. You can now edit time breakdowns on leave requests. Ironically, our first step towards leave automation is manual (baby steps). You can manually assign the times match the correct leave hours (see visual below). This is likely to go live in the next couple of weeks. We’re hoping this is a helpful remedy in the meantime, but you won’t be doing this for long. Soon, it’ll be automated. Changing time breakdowns: our manual step to automation. Up next: automatically fill from roster. If staff are rostered during their leave dates, these hours are reflected on the request. Just check and approve. Then: change the roster cards. Before approving the leave request, change the affected shifts: Make the shift vacant and find a replacement Delete the shift if you don’t need it anymore. Usually applies for salaried staff. Keep the rostered shift and the leave card. Applies when staff work half a shift and then go home sick. We’re always listening. We talk about what we do a lot. But we also love to listen. If you have any feedback, suggestions, or general thoughts on this, shoot me an email at emerson@tanda.co We build features so you can succeed with your team. So we value your ideas. After all, you’re on the frontline. Thanks for being part of the team.

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About the author

Enrique Estagle

Enrique was the former editor-in-chief of Tanda's Blog.

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Related Articles

Feature Updates

We’re changing leave, especially manual corrections. Here’s how.

Key takeaways We are building towards fully automated leave Features are released in stages over the next 3-6 months Eventually, staff can just enter the leave start and end date We’ll apply the correct hours every time All managers have to do is review and approve Our vision: never having to manually correct leave. Ever. […]

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