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Your Guide to Parental Leave Laws

13 November, 2017 Enrique Estagle

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.

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