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13.6 Maternity Leave and/or Parental Leave for Rehabilitation Clients

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Policy Statement

Participants of DVA Rehabilitation will be supported to take maternity leave and/or parental leave, as required.

Authority

Authority is provided under:

 

Intent

This policy aims to provide direction regarding the interaction of maternity leave and parental leave arrangements while a veteran is, or is about to, participate in a DVA rehabilitation program.

 

Background

The number of jobs open to women in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has expanded greatly since the first Army Nursing Service was established in New South Wales in 1899.  Women now make up more than 17% of the ADF workforce and as a result there will be more women transitioning out of the ADF.  In addition, many ADF personnel are transitioning out at a younger age.

Therefore, it is considered likely that some veterans may seek access to maternity leave and/or parental leave while participating in a DVA rehabilitation program.  The implementation of this maternity leave/parental leave policy is intended to align DVA’s rehabilitation arrangements with that of the mainstream Australian workforce.

 

Eligibility

Veterans commencing, or participating in a DVA rehabilitation program with the required documentary evidence of the need for maternity leave and/or parental leave are eligible.

 

Overview

Maternity Leave

Clients participating in DVA Rehabilitation are able to access at least twelve (12) weeks maternity leave when required.  Any need for maternity leave will be identified within their rehabilitation plan.

All maternity leave will commence six weeks prior to the due date, unless a medical certificate is received providing clearance to continue with the rehabilitation plan, with an end date identified.

If a client’s confinement period does not start within the six weeks pre-birth, any time not used in this period may be back-ended, allowing the client a full twelve weeks of maternity leave.

If a client gives birth prematurely, they will still be entitled to the full twelve weeks maternity leave.

Clients will be assumed to resume active engagement with their rehabilitation plan six weeks post-birth, unless the client has met the above exception or discussed and identified parental leave arrangements with their rehabilitation provider and/or delegate.  If a client receiving incapacity payments re-engages with their rehabilitation six-weeks post-birth there will be no impact to their incapacity payments.

Clients undertaking rehabilitation on a voluntary basis may opt to have their rehabilitation plan reflect leave for an identified period or closed at any point in time.

In circumstances where a pregnancy of at least twenty weeks ceases prior to the expected date of birth, maternity leave may be accessed.  This applies even if it was not a live birth. However, if a pregnancy of less than twenty weeks ceases, a client may not access maternity leave, but may choose to pause their rehabilitation through providing a medical certificate if unfit to undertake rehabilitation.

 

Parental Leave1 →

Parental leave allows employees to take time away from work for the birth or adoption of a child.  The term ‘parental leave’ encompasses several types of complementary entitlements, including:

  • employer-funded paid parental leave, including paid maternity leave

  • government-funded Parental Leave Pay

  • unpaid parental leave

  • adoption leave

Under the Paid Parental Leave scheme, eligible parents can access taxpayer funded pay when they take time off from work to care for a newborn or recently adopted child.  The Paid Parental Leave scheme provides two payments – Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay.

 

Parental Leave Pay

Parental Leave Pay provides eligible parents up to 18 weeks of pay at the rate of the national minimum wage.  This leave must be taken within 52 weeks from the birth of the baby.  Parents who do not have an employer receive the payments directly from Services Australia.

If a DVA Rehabilitation client opts to take paid parental leave, their rehabilitation plan will be paused for the duration of the 18 weeks and their compensation payments are paused for the same amount of time.

 

Dad and Partner Pay2 →

The Dad and Partner Pay scheme enables two weeks’ pay, at the rate of the national minimum wage for eligible working dads or partners (including same-sex partners).

Dads or partners have to be on unpaid leave or not working to receive the payment.  The role of employers in Dad and Partner Pay is to provide unpaid leave so that their eligible employees can access it.

To reduce administrative burden, but enable access to leave of a comparable type with the Dad and Partner Pay scheme, a client participating in DVA Rehabilitation may, on request and with required documentary evidence, seek up to two weeks leave, without any impact on their rehabilitation plan, within the first 52 weeks post-post birth.  This leave will be reflected in their rehabilitation plan.

If the client wishes to receive the Dad and Partner payment from Services Australia, the rehabilitation provider or delegate are to explain the impacts this will have on an incapacity payment including the risk of incurring an overpayment.

 

Requirements

Maternity Leave

Clients are responsible for providing evidence (via medical certificate) of their pregnancy and anticipated due date.  Following discussion with their rehabilitation provider or delegate, the client’s anticipated leave plans should be reflected within their Rehabilitation Plan.

Clients wishing to continue rehabilitation within the six weeks pre-birth period must provide a medical certificate indicating clearance to continue with the rehabilitation plan, with an end date identified.

Clients will be assumed to have resumed active engagement with their rehabilitation plan six weeks post-birth, unless the client has discussed and identified alternate leave arrangements with their rehabilitation provider and/or delegate.

Clients should be aware that, consideration of reasonable amendments to the rehabilitation plan (or the activities to achieve goals), to take into account additional carer requirements can be considered to ensure continued participation in the rehabilitation program.  These amendments should identify a timeframe, of not more than 18 weeks post maternity leave, within which they will apply.

A client may opt to commence paid parental leave, following maternity leave. 

The rehabilitation provider or delegate will contact the client prior to the cessation of the six week post birth period to confirm if the pre-birth plans are unchanged (or not) and to confirm if the client will be re-engaging with their rehabilitation plan, seeking amendment to their plan with continued participation or taking paid parental leave.

Clients undertaking rehabilitation and in receipt of incapacity payments must meet requirements of participation, as per the rights and obligations form.  If indicating their intent to take paid parental leave following their maternity leave, the implications of pausing their rehabilitation plan must be clearly explained by the rehabilitation provider and/or delegate.

The rehabilitation provider and/or delegate must discuss ways in which the client’s rehabilitation plan can be reasonably amended to take into account their caring responsibilities while still working towards rehabilitation goals before a final decision regarding paid parental leave and the pausing of the rehabilitation plan is reached by the client.  For example, if a client is unable to continue with return to work activities she may still be able to undertake psychosocial activities for a period of up to 18 weeks which is the equivalent of paid parental leave time.

A client is not obligated to take maternity leave, but will need to provide a medical certificate indicating their capacity to participate in their rehabilitation plan.  A rehabilitation plan can be amended with suitable activities to ensure ongoing compliance. For example if a client is unable to continue with vocational activities she may still be able to undertake psychosocial activities during the maternity leave period.

Clients are responsible for advising their rehabilitation provide or delegate of any circumstances which may necessitate changes to their rehabilitation plan.

Rehabilitation providers or delegates are responsible for ensuring the client rehabilitation plan is kept up-to-date throughout the maternity leave and, if required, the parental leave phase.

 

Parental Leave

Clients are responsible for providing evidence (via medical certificate; official documentation confirming birth or adoption) of their anticipated requirement for the pausing of their rehabilitation plan to enable access to paid parental leave.  This proposed action should be noted in their rehabilitation plan and include start and finish dates. Parental leave should not be recorded as an activity.

NOTE: A client is not eligible to take paid parental leave available through Services Australia, if they are actively engaged in rehabilitation and in receipt of compensation payments.

The rehabilitation delegate and incapacity delegate must advise implications of pausing their rehabilitation plan, direct clients to the Services Australia information, and provide support, as required, for them to determine eligibility and to apply for parental leave.

If a DVA rehabilitation client takes paid parental leave, their rehabilitation plan will be paused for the duration of the parental leave and their compensation payments are paused for the same amount of time. 

The rehabilitation delegate will contact the client prior to the cessation of parental leave to confirm when the client will recommence participation of their rehabilitation plan.  Consideration may be given to reasonable amendments to the rehabilitation plan (or the activities to achieve goals), to take into account additional carer requirements.  These amendments should identify a timeframe within which they will apply.

 

Dad/Partner Leave

Clients are responsible for providing evidence (via medical certificate; official documentation confirming adoption or similar) of their anticipated requirement for access to two weeks leave, comparable to the ‘Dad and Partner Pay’ scheme.   This anticipated leave, and the dates for it to be accessed, should be reflected in the client’s rehabilitation plan.

If a dad or partner wishes to take longer leave, the rehabilitation provider or delegate must discuss the implications of non-participation in their approved rehabilitation plan.  For example, the impact on incapacity payments.

 

Related Policies, Legislation and Information

Policy
Legislation
DVA website

 

Evaluation

Outcome

Successful re-engagement with a client’s rehabilitation plan following return from Maternity leave and/or Parental Leave.

Method

When the client makes contact with their rehabilitation provider to re-engage with their rehabilitation plan, the provider will seek feedback from the client.  The feedback sought will include:

  • How clear was the advice given regarding taking Maternity leave/Parental Leave?

  • Did you understand how taking Parental Leave would impact your rehabilitation participation and/or incapacity payments?

  • Was there enough contact with your rehabilitation provider/delegate during your leave from your rehabilitation plan?

  • Were the options suggested for continued engagement with your rehabilitation plan appropriate?

  • Would you like to provide any other feedback?