28 PARENTAL LEAVE
The following provisions are to be read in conjunction with the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 (the “Act” in this clause). The parties acknowledge that the following provisions are intended to be in their overall effect, as favourable to employees as, or more favourable to employees than, the rights and benefits provided for in parts 1 to 5 of the Act, and comprehensive in their effect.
28.1 General Entitlement
(a) Employees who are primary carers as defined in the Act are entitled to the following:
(i) Parental leave of up to twelve months without pay for employees with at least one year’s service at the time of commencing leave.
(ii) Parental leave of up to six months without pay for employees with less than one year’s service at the time of commencing leave.
(b) Employees intending to take parental leave are required to give not less than three months’ notice in writing and the application is to be accompanied by a certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner or midwife certifying the expected date of delivery. The provision is waived in the case of adoption or circumstances outside the control of the employee.
(c) Employees are required to give at least one month’s notice of return to work.
(d) The maximum period of parental leave may be taken by either the employee exclusively or may be shared by the employee and their partner either concurrently or consecutively. This applies whether or not one or both partners are employed by the employer.
(e) The parental leave may be taken in more than one continuous period, with the start and finish dates of each additional period, and any extension of parental leave past the anniversary date of the commencement of parental leave, to be agreed between the employer and the employee.
(f) An employee returning from parental leave may request the employer to vary the proportion of full-time employment from that which applied before the leave was taken. The granting of such a request shall be at the discretion of the employer.
28.2 Paid Parental Leave
(a) Where an employee is granted leave in terms of Clause 28.1 above and assumes the primary carer role, he/she shall be paid for a period of up to six weeks on full pay, beginning at the start of the leave period. Except that where the employee is in receipt of the statutory paid parental leave payment in accordance with the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, the employer shall instead pay the employee the difference between the weekly statutory payment and the employee’s full pay for the period of up to 14 weeks. Where both partners choose to share the primary care, the payment shall be split (irrespective of whether or not both are employed by the employer) in accordance with those employees’ wishes.
(b) The partner of the primary caregiver shall be granted paid leave of up to two weeks on full pay. Such leave shall be continuous and shall be taken within a period commencing three weeks prior to the expected date of delivery (adoption) and ending three weeks after the actual date of delivery (or adoption). Variations to this period may be agreed between the employee and the employer in order to meet the special needs of the child such as premature birth or placement prior to adoption. An employee availing him or herself of this entitlement shall not be eligible for paid parental leave pursuant to sub-Clause (a) above.
(c) Where, for reasons pertaining to the pregnancy, an employee, on medical advice and with the consent of the employer, elects to work reduced hours at any time prior to the taking of leave, then the calculation of payment for the parental leave shall be based on the proportion of full-time employment immediately prior to any such enforced reduction in hours.
(d) Where an employee is absent on parental leave for less than 14 weeks, he/she shall be paid for the period of leave taken.
28.3 Job Protection
(a) Subject to 28.4 below, an employee returning from parental leave is entitled to resume work in the same position or a similar position to the one they occupied at the time of commencing parental leave. A similar position means a position:
(i) at the equivalent salary,
(ii) at the equivalent job size and hours of work;
(iii) in the same location or other location within reasonable commuting distance; and
(iv) involving responsibilities broadly comparable to those experienced in the previous position.
(b) Where applicable, employees shall continue to be awarded their salary advancement when their advancement date falls during absence on parental leave.
(c) Parental leave shall be recognised towards service-based entitlements, ie: annual leave and sick leave. However, parental leave will not contribute to Retiring Gratuities allowance calculations.
(a) Where possible, the employer must hold the employee’s position open or fill it temporarily until the employee’s return from parental leave. However in the event that the employee’s position is a “key position” (as contemplated in the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987), the employer may fill the position on a permanent basis.
(b) Where the employer is not able to hold a position open, or to fill it temporarily until an employee returns from parental leave, or fills it permanently on the basis of it being a key position, and, at the time the employee returns to work, a similar position (as defined in 28.3 (a) above) is not available, the employer may approve one of the following options:
(i) an extension of parental leave for up to a further 12 months until the employee’s previous position or a similar position becomes available; or
(ii) an offer to the employee of a similar position in another location (if one is available) with normal transfer expenses applying; if the offer is refused, the employee continues on extended parental leave as in 28.4(b)(i) above for up to 12 months; or
(iii) the appointment of the employee to a different position in the same location, but if this is not acceptable to the employee the employee shall continue on extended parental leave in terms of 28.4(b)(i) above for up to 12 months: provided that, if a different position is accepted and within the period of extended parental leave in terms of 28.4(b)(i), the employee’s previous position or a similar position becomes available, then the employee shall be entitled to be appointed to that position; or
(iv) where extended parental leave in terms of 28.4(b)(i) above expires, and no similar position is available for the employee, the employee shall be declared surplus under Clause 45 of this agreement.
(c) If the employee declines the offer of appointment to the same or similar position in terms of sub Clause 28.3(a) above, parental leave shall cease.
(d) Where, for reasons pertaining to the pregnancy, an employee on medical advice and with the consent of the employer, elects to work reduced hours at any time prior to confinement, then the guaranteed proportion of full-time employment after parental leave shall be the same as that immediately prior to such enforced reduction in hours.
(e) Parental leave absence filled by temporary appointee – If a position held open for an employee on parental leave is filled on a temporary basis, the employer must inform the temporary appointee that their employment will terminate on the return of the employee from parental leave.
(f) Employees on parental leave may from time to time and by agreement work occasional duties during the period of parental leave and this shall not affect the rights and obligations of either the employee or the employer under this clause.