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Maternity leave in schools
People often use the term “maternity leave” to refer to a range of rights and entitlements related to pregnancy. However, those entitlements can vary depending on the nature of employment.
All teachers who become pregnant are eligible for unpaid maternity leave but not everyone is eligible for paid maternity leave or a payment in lieu of the leave.
Before disclosing your pregnancy, seek advice relevant to your situation and employment pattern from Professional Support. The following is a summary of general advice for casual and temporary teachers.
Casual teachers are not entitled to access paid maternity leave in the same way as permanent and temporary teachers on an engagement can.
A casual teacher may be eligible for a lump sum payment in lieu of paid leave if they meet all the requirements, including 40 weeks of “continuous service” before the anticipated date of birth of the child.
Eligible casual teachers will receive a maternity payment equivalent to 14 weeks of pay. The rate will be set at the salary rate paid in the final week of service before ceasing duty.
Paid maternity leave is available to temporary teachers only when the anticipated date of birth falls within the period of the temporary engagement. To be eligible, temporary teachers must have completed 40 weeks of “continuous service” within the two-year period immediately preceding the anticipated date of birth.
A temporary teacher’s right of return to the position is retained only for the duration of the temporary engagement and not beyond. If the temporary engagement ends before the 14 weeks of full-time equivalent paid maternity leave does, the remainder will be paid as a lump sum.
If the anticipated date of birth will be just after the period of the engagement ends seek advice as early as possible.
ELIGIBILITY FOR PAYMENT
“Continuous service” includes all periods of paid leave, previous adoption, parental and maternity leave without pay, sick leave without pay, public holidays and a total of five days of leave without pay. It also includes any full-time and part-time temporary service but only full-time casual service.
Any absence from duty on leave without pay that exceeds a total accumulated period of five days may break the “continuous service” requirement to be eligible for the payment, but it will not break “continuity of service” for other entitlements. In order to be continuous, casual service cannot have any breaks in service.
Temporary teachers who are not eligible for paid maternity leave/maternity payment, or do not intend to work after the birth of their child, should contact the Department to apply for unpaid maternity leave, as this will assist in determining “continuity of service” for subsequent pregnancies and other entitlements.
For more information contact Professional Support on 1300 654 369.
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