How to take parental leave

The employee has responsibilities if they want to take parental leave.

Write to your employer

You must write to your employer about your leave and not just rely on a conversation. Putting your leave details in writing makes things clear for both of you and reduces the chance of misunderstandings or problems later.

You should think carefully about how much parental leave you want to take before you apply. If you want to take your extended leave in two or more periods, each period will have to be on dates agreed with your employer.

Notice that employees must give their employer

If you or your spouse or partner are having a baby and want to take parental leave or negotiated carer leave you must write to your employer at least three months before the baby’s expected due date.

If neither you, your spouse or partner are having a baby but you’re going to start being the permanent primary carer of a child under 6 years, let your employer know as soon as possible when it is likely to happen. Write to your employer at least 14 days before you want to take parental leave.

The letter must say:

  • what type of leave you want
  • the date that you want the leave to start, and
  • how long the period of leave will be.

If you’re sharing any part of your leave with your spouse or partner, the letter must also say:

  • the dates on which you and your spouse or partner plan to start and finish each period of leave
  • your spouse or partner’s name and, if they are an employee, the name and address of their employer
  • that you and your spouse or partner are both eligible for the leave you are applying for
  • that the total amount of leave you and your spouse or partner are taking will not be more than 52 weeks (not counting any partner’s leave taken).

You can use a sample letter to assist you.

What to include with your letter

If you or your spouse/partner are giving birth

If you or your spouse or partner are giving birth to the child, you must attach a copy of a certificate from a doctor or midwife naming who is pregnant and the baby’s due date. If it is your spouse or partner who is pregnant, you need to include a written letter from her saying that you are her spouse or partner and you’ll be going to assume the care for the child she is going to have.

If you are taking permanent primary responsibility for the care, development and upbringing of a child under 6 years

You will need to attach to your statement:

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