Casual teachers are not entitled to access paid maternity leave in the same way as permanent and temporary teachers on an engagement can. A casual teacher may be eligible for a maternity payment in lieu of paid leave if they meet all the requirements.
Before disclosing your pregnancy, seek advice from Federation relevant to your situation and employment pattern. It’s important to know what you may be entitled to before lodging your request for maternity leave or payment with the Department of Education.
The following is a summary of general advice provided to casual teachers seeking to apply for a maternity leave payment, as well as to have their anticipated leave duration recognised by the Department of Education.
Full-time casual teachers who become pregnant and have completed at least “40 weeks continuous service” before the anticipated date of birth of the child, may qualify for a maternity payment.
A casual teacher may qualify for a maternity payment if she has full-time employment before ceasing duty.
A casual teacher who is not employed for a period of up to four weeks before the anticipated date of birth will have this period deemed as continuous service for the purposes of eligibility for maternity payments.
The 40 weeks of continuous service required for eligibility includes:
- all periods of paid leave, previous adoption, parental and maternity leave without pay, sick leave without pay, school vacations, public holidays and up to a total of five days leave without pay.
- all permanent service, temporary service and full-time casual service under the Teaching Service Act 1980.
The following periods are not counted as service, but they do not break the continuity of service:
- any absence from duty for a period/ periods of leave without pay which exceeds a total accumulated period of five days
- an absence of a casual teacher from full-time service at the beginning of the school year, for a period of no longer than 21 calendar days where service is otherwise continuous.
An application for a maternity payment should be submitted at least four weeks before ceasing duty.
An application for maternity leave must be submitted via a SAP leave form signed by the principal. The application must be accompanied by a medical certificate stating the anticipated date of birth.
Eligible casual teachers will receive a maternity payment equivalent to 14 weeks’ pay at the same rate of the final week of service before ceasing duty for maternity purposes. The maternity payment will be made in a lump sum. Proof of birth must be provided to ensure correct entitlements are paid. A birth certificate or written advice from the hospital/birthing centre are accepted.
Casual and temporary teachers who are not eligible for paid maternity leave or the maternity payment, or do not intend to work for a period of time following the birth of their child, should contact the Department for an application form for unpaid maternity leave, as this will assist in determining continuity of service for subsequent pregnancies and other entitlements.
Federation urges all casual teacher members to contact Professional Support if experiencing any difficulties in making an application for the gratuity maternity payment.
The union’s advice leaflet, L5 Maternity, adoption and parental leave, contains additional information, available from Professional Support 1300 654 369 or the Members’ Area of Federation’s website.
Material relating to the provisions of casual maternity leave can be found in Chapter 9 of the Teachers Handbook.
Kate Harland is a City Organiser and Mandy Wells is the Multicultural Officer/Organiser