Are There Special Requirements When Hiring Replacement
Prior to the Fair Work Act it was a legislative
requirement that an employee hired to replace an employee on
maternity leave be advised of the temporary nature of their
employment. This is no longer legislated, but nevertheless
employers would be wise to ensure that a replacement employee
clearly understands that his or her employment will not or may not
necessarily continue when the employee returns from parental
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN EMPLOYEE RETURNS TO WORK?
An employee who has taken unpaid parental leave is entitled to
return to work in the position they held immediately prior to the
start of their parental leave, or for female employees the position
they held immediately prior to any transfer or alteration in their
duties made due to pregnancy.
The Fair Work Act also provides employees, who have
responsibility for the care of a child, with the right to request
changes to their working arrangements to assist the employee to
care for the child. However, the child must be under school age, or
under 18 and have a disability.
The types of requests that could be made include: different
hours of work; different patterns of work; and changes in location
An employee is not entitled to make a request unless the
employee has completed at least 12 months of continuous service
with the employer before making the request, or the employee is a
long term casual employee immediately before the request and has a
reasonable expectation of continuing employment on a regular and
Requests for flexible working arrangements must be made in
writing, and set out the details of the changes sought along with
the reasons for the requested change. An employer must respond in
writing within 21 days of receiving the request, and the response
must state whether or not the request will be granted. Employers
may only refuse a request on "reasonable business
grounds", and if a request is refused the written response
provided to the employee must include the reasons for the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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