1 min read

Employee requesting early return from parental leave

Q: We are a physio practice employing eight physios. Recently, two physios went on maternity leave and we employed a physio to cover them until April next year. One of the physios who originally didn’t want to come back until April has now asked to come back in January. If we can’t fit them back into the clinic due to space until April, is this an issue for us?

A: You have an obligation under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to return employees on parental leave to their pre-parental leave position.

Other than exceptions (e.g. where the employee ceases to be the primary caregiver of the child or the child dies), the employee on parental leave can only reduce the period of parental leave by agreement with the employer. It is therefore okay to refuse the employee’s request to reduce her leave (assuming one of the exceptions does not exist), and say that her position is not available until the end of the original period of parental leave.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Parental leave for current advice.

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