The NSW Government announced changes to the parental leave provisions for Public Servants in the State Budget earlier this year. This followed the PSA, along with other public sector unions, advocating for improvements through the Women’s Economic Opportunities Review. The review develops the strategies and makes recommendations on the women’s economic participation aspects of the 2022-23 NSW Budget.
Our submission draws upon direct feedback and research of our female membership over several years including our 2020 survey and report ‘What Women Want’.
The changes are contained within special Determinations No 3 and No 4 of 2022.
You can read the determinations by clicking on the links below:
Changes to entitlements include:
- Removal of the distinction between primary and secondary caregiver to remove gender bias
- Capacity for two weeks concurrency for parents taking leave
- Leave can be taken at any time in the first two years after the child is born
- Two bonus weeks of leave can be shared between caregivers, or both weeks utilised by one parent, when other parental leave is exhausted
- Expansion of eligibility to include employees providing Out of Home Care if there is a permanent out of home care arrangement in place
- Five days’ paid leave per calendar year for IVF fertility treatment which can be taken in part-days, single days or consecutive days.
The changes are available for children who were born to, or came into the care of, an employee from 1 October 2022.
We encourage members who need to access parental leave to familiarise themselves with the changes and be aware that parental leave conditions are now listed in both Clause 75 of the Crown Employees Award as well as Determinations No 3 and No 4 of 2022.
The PSA has commenced discussions with the government and the other unions to introduce a new model Parental Leave clause to public sector awards, which will consolidate all entitlements into one place – your Award.
Where to from here?
While the PSA welcomes the changes to the Parental Leave entitlements, we will continue to advocate for a range of further improvements.
Paid Parental Leave should be extended to 26 weeks, as the current entitlement is still well behind the quantum recommended by the World Health Organisation in relation to supporting breastfeeding.
Requests related to Parental Leave refusals are far too often negated based on operational reasons and interpreted in quite narrow definitions. The PSA has recommended that refusal of the right to request part time work as well as requests regarding the pattern in which Parental Leave is taken be reviewed and arbitrated by an independent review process.
The PSA recommends the creation of additional leave entitlements for emergency/short term and respite carers of up to two weeks; leave per year to support those who are engaged in crucial caring roles that are yet to be made permanent out of home care arrangements.