Maternity Leave

This overview page has been designed to provide a comprehensive overview of maternity leave entitlements, procedures and policies for professional and academic staff at the University, including a Step-by-Step guide on how to apply for maternity leave and information on when to notify your supervisor about your return to work plans.
For ease of reference, the information is divided into two key sections as follows:
  • Pre-Maternity – The Planning Phase
  • Entitlements to Maternity Leave
  • Calculating your Maternity Leave Entitlements
  • Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme (PPL)
  • Easy Steps For Applying For Maternity Leave
  • Useful Information – prenatal leave, parking arrangements
  • Maternity – Your Child Arrives
  • Return to Work Entitlements and Obligations
  • Other Relevant Entitlements and Policies
  • Effect of Maternity Leave on Employment
  • Getting Help  
Pre-maternity: The Planning Phase
Entitlement to Maternity Leave
An employee has a basic entitlement to 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave.  The UNSW (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011 and the UNSW (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2010 detail the maternity leave entitlements for continuous, fixed term and casual employees, including eligibility conditions and timeframes of taking leave.  The following table briefly outlines maternity leave entitlements for staff at UNSW and must be read in conjunction with the relevant enterprise agreement.
up to 5 years of continuous service = 26 weeks (full pay)
5 years or more of continuous service = 36 weeks (full pay)
Entitlement ceases upon the expiry of fixed term employment except in special circumstances set out in Clause 39.5.3(b) of the UNSW (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2010 and Clause 33.5.3(b) of the UNSW (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011.
14 weeks maternity leave on full pay provided the employee:
(i)        has been employed by the University on a regular and systematic basis for a continuous period of at least 24 months immediately prior to the pregnancy; and
(ii)       has not accessed paid maternity leave from any other employer for the pregnancy.
Calculating your Maternity Leave entitlements
The Enterprise Agreements provide for an employee who has five (5) years or more continuous service, to an entitlement of 36 weeks at full pay and to 26 weeks for an employee with less than 5 years service).
In calculating an employee’s entitlement to the additional 10 weeks of paid maternity leave, it is important to note the following relevant provisions of the Enterprise Agreements:
  • There is a 20 week period within which maternity leave must commence – Clause 39.5.1 of the UNSW (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2010 and Clause 33.5.1 of the UNSW (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011; and
  • The latest date on which an employee can commence maternity leave is the actual birth date of the child – Clause 39.5.1 of the UNSW (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2010 and Clause 33.5.1 of the UNSW (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011.
STEP 1   Early in Your Pregnancy
Early in your pregnancy, consider any risk to the pregnancy that your position may hold (for example chemicals) and discuss your concerns with your supervisor or the OHS unit.
If there are any risks identified, the University will transfer you to a suitable role and/or location during the period of your pregnancy.
If you are considering placing your child in childcare, it is important that you consider centres and place your name on a waiting list as soon as possible. 
Places at UNSW childcare centres are limited and currently there is a waiting list of 2+ years.  For more information regarding childcare centres at UNSW, please visit:
For more information on childcare centres, including external alternatives, please click here.
STEP 2   10 Weeks before Expected Date of Delivery
Notifying Supervisor
You are required to notify your supervisor of your intention to take maternity leave at least 10 weeks before the expected date of birth of your child. You can do so by email. 
By this time you should be thinking about how you want to take your maternity leave (i.e. in fortnightly instalments or as a lump sum payment).
If you intend to return to work on a part-time basis, it is a good time to start these discussions with your supervisor as soon as reasonably possible.
STEP 3   4 Weeks before Commencing Maternity Leave
Submit Application Form
To give your Faculty/Unit sufficient time to make arrangements to cover your absence, it is helpful to submit your maternity leave application as early as possible.  You are required to have all documentation and approvals finalised no later than 4 weeks before that date you commence your maternity leave.
To apply, please complete the Maternity Leave Application Form.  Please remember to include a letter from your obstetrician or midwife stating the expected date of birth.
Maintaining Contact with UNSW
Prior to commencing maternity leave, you should discuss with your supervisor the extent to which you would like to maintain contact with your work unit, e.g. remaining on email lists, receiving invitations to work functions.  If you wish to receive work-related emails, you will need to check your work email at regular intervals, unless other arrangements have been made with your supervisor.

Maternity - When Your Child Arrives

At the end of your maternity leave, you are entitled to resume work in the position you held immediately before commencing maternity leave, unless the position has been made redundant.
The key is to begin discussions early with your supervisor to discuss your return to work arrangements.
Early Return to Work
If your circumstances have changed and you wish to return to work earlier than the date originally approved, then you may negotiate an earlier return date with your supervisor.  You should do so as soon as possible.
Part time Return to Work
Notifying Your Supervisor at Least 8 Weeks Prior To Your Return –
You may decide that you wish to return to work on a part time basis for a defined period.  If you wish to do so, you must make an application to return to work on a part time basis at least 8 weeks prior to the completion of your maternity leave.  Your application may be made via email to your supervisor.  The application should include information regarding your proposal, including the number of days per week you wish to work, which days of the week you wish to work and the proposed duration of the part time arrangement.
If it is not practicable for you to resume work on a part time basis in the position held by the you prior to taking maternity leave, the University may identify a suitable vacant position to which you may be placed on a part time basis.  If you agree, you will be placed in the alternate position and be paid the appropriate proportion of the salary applicable to your former substantive position for the period of part time employment.
Career Advancement Fund
The Career Advancement Fund for female academics returning from Maternity Leave can be accessed by clicking here
Carer’s Leave
See Clause 39.2 of the UNSW (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2010 and Clause 33.2 of the UNSW (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011.
Equalisation of salary
See Clause 15.0 of the UNSW (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2010 and Clause 14.0 of the UNSW (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011.
Policy can be accessed at:
For information on Breastfeeding workshops/parents networks and to subscribe to the Parents’ Network at the University please click here.
Leave Without Pay
                Please click here for the University’s LWOP policy and other related information.
Paid maternity leave counts as service for all purposes, but leave taken at less than full pay will affect the accrual of annual and long service leave.
A staff member’s absence on unpaid maternity leave will not count as service for annual leave or any other purpose (except that 6 months or less will count for LSL purposes where a staff member has 10 years or more service with the University) – See Clause 39.5.2(g) of the UNSW (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2010 and Clause 33.5.2(f) of the UNSW (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011.
For Professional Staff of the University, incremental progression will continue during periods of paid maternity leave and where the employee has either been at work or on paid leave for at least 6 months of the previous 12 month period – See Clause 39.5.5 of the UNSW (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2010.
If you have any queries about parental leave entitlements, please contact your HR Consultant.

Useful Information

Pre-natal Arrangements
It is expected that in most circumstances employees will arrange pre-natal classes outside work hours.  However, where this is not possible, sick leave may be used to attend pre-natal requirements.  You may use up to three single days of available sick leave for pre-natal purposes to attend pre-natal appointments such as ultrasounds and birthing classes.  For more information on pre-natal arrangements, visit:
Parking Arrangements
FM Assist manages all on-site parking at UNSW. In recognition of potential mobility problems in late pregnancy, FM Assist can arrange special temporary parking permits to access ground floor parking space for a period of time. For more information, please refer to FM Assist’s ‘Transportation and Parking Handbook’ which can be downloaded at: