Your questions answered: Can employees be granted parental leave indefinitely?

By Portner Press on October 23rd, 2019
  1. Employee Management
  2. Leave Provisions

Q
What would happen in the following scenario?

An employee on parental leave for 12 months requests an extension of her leave to 24 months. During the extended parental leave period, she falls pregnant again and requests to take another 24 months.

How many times could the extension be granted?

How long is the employer required to hold the position of an employee who gives birth each period they are on parental leave before returning to work.

For example, if they plan to have five children every two years, does it mean the position is held open for 10 years?

A
Technically yes, it is possible for an employee to keep using continuous periods of parental leave and extensions, however keep in mind the following:

  • the employee can only start their parental leave entitlement 6 weeks before the expected birth date. It will only be in very rare cases that this date will fall within the original 24 months’ leave and the employee will not have to return to work in between; and
  • the request for extension can be refused on reasonable business grounds. The employer must also give the employee a reasonable opportunity to discuss the request, respond in writing with details of the refusal, and give the response within 21 days of the request.

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