Improvements to unpaid parental leave entitlements

The Federal Government has introduced legislation to improve unpaid parental leave entitlements for families dealing with the trauma of stillbirths, infant deaths and premature births. 

Currently, parents who experience a stillbirth or infant death are only entitled to a guaranteed six-weeks of unpaid leave before they can be required to return to work. 

The Fair Work Amendment (Improving Unpaid Parental Leave for Parents of Stillborn Babies and Other Measures) Bill, 2020, creates a guaranteed entitlement to 12-months of unpaid leave for eligible parents – the same amount of unpaid leave parents of healthy babies can choose to take. 

For parents of premature babies, or newborns that experience birth-related complications that result in immediate hospitalisation, the Government is also removing a barrier that prevented them from going back to work while their child is in hospital, and then restarting their unpaid parental leave when their baby comes home. 

Changes will also be made to complement the new flexible Parental Leave Payment to allow employees to use up to 30 days of their existing entitlement to 12 months unpaid parental leave on a flexible basis (in days or weeks) any time up to two years after the birth or adoption of their child. 

For more information on unpaid parental leave, please contact NECA Legal on 6241 6129 or email

Click here to access fact sheets on parental leave.