Parental leave: What to consider when replacing someone

It’s an issue all too well known to real estate employers. You have a pregnant employee who is about to head off on unpaid parental leave. Your anxiety levels start to rise. How are you going to maintain your agency’s level of service while they’re gone?

An employee going on parental leave is not at all uncommon. As an employer, you may want to absorb the employee’s duties into the roles of other team members. But, for obvious reasons, this isn’t always possible. Your business will, quite simply, not operate as efficiently with one less person in the office to perform important functions. So you look to fill the role for the duration of the employee’s parental leave.

What do you need to do when engaging a replacement employee for a parental leave period?

Are there any terms you should include in the letter of offer?

The Fair Work Act 2009 requires that before an employer engages an employee to perform the work of another employee who is taking unpaid parental leave, the employer must notify the replacement employee that:

  • the engagement to perform the work is temporary
  • the rights of the employer and the employee taking parental leave with respect to being able to cancel the leave if the pregnancy ends other than by the birth of a living child
  • the return to work guarantee of the employee on parental leave
  • the right of the employer to require the employee taking parental leave to return to work if the employee ceases to have responsibility for the care of the child.

Before the prospective replacement employee is employed, it’s important that you advise them of the rights that rest with the employee on parental leave and the consequence of accepting a position that is temporary and conditional on the continued absence of that employee.

Got a question?

Let us know and we’ll cover it for you in an upcoming blog post. Email [email protected].