Negotiated carer leave

Negotiated carer leave lets employees who do not qualify for primary carer leave take unpaid time off work to care for their child.

When employees may be eligible

An employee may be eligible for negotiated carer leave if:

  • they’re going to be the primary carer of a child
  • they meet the criteria to receive parental leave payments, and
  • they do not meet the criteria for primary carer leave.

Eligibility tool [PDF, 1013 KB]

Primary carer leave

Jacky is a full-time permanent employee but has changed jobs in the last 5 months, so has not worked for the same employer for the last 6 months. This means that Jacky:

  • does not meet the criteria for taking parental leave
  • does meet the criteria for parental leave payments because the work does not have to be with the same employer, but Jacky will only be able to get parental leave payments if Jacky is the primary carer of the child and can take negotiated carer leave or resigns.

Shayne has worked part-time for 2 different employers for the last 3 years; working 1 day a week for 8 hours (although the day worked varies) as a permanent employee.

Shayne’s other job is casual, working when there is work available which fits in with Shayne’s other job and commitments. This means that some weeks Shayne does not do any casual work, but in other weeks he works 1 or 2 eight-hour shifts. Shayne:

  • does not qualify for parental leave from the permanent job because 8 hours per week does not meet the criterion of an average of 10 hours per week with the same employer
  • does meet the criteria for parental leave payments because Shayne’s total hours of work from both employers for each week in the last 52 weeks, add up to an average of 10 hours per week for at least 26 of these weeks.

Shayne must be the primary carer of the child and will need to get negotiated carer leave (from the permanent job) or resign to be able to get parental leave payments.

Requesting negotiated carer leave

If an employee wants to take negotiated carer leave, they must ask their employer for it in writing:

  • at least 3 months before their baby’s due date, if they or their spouse or partner are pregnant
  • 14 days before they’re due to become the primary carer of a child under the age of 6 years.

Their employer must let them know if they agree on taking negotiated care leave within 1 month of their request. The employer can say no if:

  • they cannot reorganise your work by giving it to colleagues or recruiting extra employees
  • their absence from work would reduce the quality, performance or ability to meet customer demand
  • they’re planning to make changes — like restructuring the team, for example, there will be too many extra costs involved for them.

Requesting parental leave

If they say no, they must give a written explanation telling why. If they do not, or the employee disagrees with the employer’s reason and cannot come to an agreement, the employee can ask the Labour Inspectorate for help.

Labour inspectorate complaints

When employees can take negotiated carer leave

If an employee is taking negotiated carer leave, they will need to work out with their employer when they can take it. If they’re:

  • pregnant, their leave will usually start on their child’s due date, or the day the child is born, whichever comes first
  • taking responsibility for the care of a child under the age of 6 years, their leave will normally start on the date they become the child’s permanent carer.

If they’ve any paid leave they can take — like or time off in lieu — they can talk to their employer about using that before they start their negotiated carer leave.

Requesting parental leave

When an employee’s negotiated carer leave ends

When an employee’s leave is due to end, they’ll need to give their employer at least 21 days’ notice of their return to work in writing.

What happens while on parental leave and your return

An employee can get a parental leave payment for up to 26 weeks if they’re taking negotiated carer leave, and they meet the payment threshold criteria.

Parental leave payments

Parental leave eligibility tool [PDF, 1013 KB]

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