Primary Carer Leave

Guildelines - Primary Carer Leave


UNSW offers a range of Parental Leave entitlements set out in Clause 39.5 of the UNSW Australia (Professional Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2015 and Clause 33.5 of the UNSW Australia (Academic Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2015.  These Primary Carer Leave Guidelines provide the mechanism and criteria by which employees who are the parent of a child and who are not entitled to UNSW’s Maternity Leave may access paid parental leave in circumstances where they are the primary carer.

The “primary carer” is the parent who principally meets the daily needs of a child (or children in the case of multiple births) which include feeding, dressing, bathing and supervision. It is the member of a couple (including same-sex couple and irrespective of gender) identified as having principal responsibility for the day-to-day care of a child (or children in the case of multiple births).
An eligible UNSW employee who is the primary carer of a child (or children) born, may access up to a maximum of 26 / 36 weeks full pay of paid leave (“Primary Carer Leave”), regardless of the number of children born, less:
  • Any paid Partner Leave taken by the eligible employee; and
  • Any employer or principal’s paid parental or primary carer leave (or similar) taken by the employee’s partner (including same sex-partner and irrespective of gender) in respect of the same child (or children), regardless of where they work.

Primary Carer Leave is available to UNSW employees who satisfy the following criteria:
  • Was engaged via a continuing or fixed term employment contract at the time a child was (or children were) born;
  • In paid employment or on paid leave immediately prior to the taking of Primary Carer Leave;
  • Commenced employment and have up to 5 years of continuous service (for a maximum of 26 weeks leave at full pay) or 5 years or more of continuous service (for a maximum of 36 weeks leave at full pay);
  • Not entitled to UNSW’s Maternity Leave, either directly or through their UNSW-employed partner;
  • At the time of taking the leave, is a parent of a child (or children) born less than 12 months ago;
  • For the duration of the leave, remains employed with UNSW;
  • For the duration of the leave, will be the primary carer of the child (or children) born; and
  • For the duration of the leave, the employee’s partner and/or the other parent of the child (or children) is:
          - working on a continuing, fixed-term, casual or contractual basis and not on any form of paid or unpaid leave

            (other than partner leave) in relation to the child (or children) born; or

          - enrolled with an officially recognised education provider and studying on a full-time basis; or

          - unable to be the primary carer of the child.

As a condition of the leave, an employee must provide details and evidence of any leave, study or other activity undertaken by their partner to verify that the above criteria are met. 
Applying for leave

Unless it is impracticable, an employee must provide their supervisor with at least 10 weeks’ notice of the intention to take Primary Carer Leave and at least 4 weeks’ formal notice of the date on which they would like to commence Primary Carer leave.  If notice is not provided in this way, the needs of a work unit (not only the needs of an employee) will be relevant in determining whether the employee’s request is granted.

An employee must complete the new HR51A Primary Carer Leave Application form.

The Primary Care Leave benefit cannot be transferred to a non-UNSW employee, nor is it retrospective.
Taking leave

Primary Carer Leave taken must:
  • Begin on or after the birth of a child.
  • Cease immediately prior to the day when the employee no longer satisfies the eligibility criteria.
  • Be taken in a single continuous period.
Paid primary carer leave may be paid at full or half pay only, and in the employee’s normal pay-cycle.

As a condition of the leave, an employee must notify UNSW of a change in their circumstances if it means they are no longer eligible for Primary Carer Leave.  If an employee wishes to remain on leave, they may request to use one of their leave entitlements.  UNSW reserves its right to reclaim any Primary Carer Leave paid to an employee during a period of ineligibility.

Frequently asked questions

If you have questions about the above Guidelines, please refer to the FAQs.