Your questions answered: Can we retrench an employee on parental leave?

By Portner Press on September 10th, 2018
  1. Workplace Policies
  2. Maternity Leave


We have an employee on maternity leave. There’s a possibility we may need to make her role redundant while she is on leave. She is covered by an award. What are our obligations given we are a small business with fewer than 15 employees?


Generally, you can lawfully effect a redundancy during a period of parental leave so long as the fact that the employee is on parental leave has no influence on the decision to make them redundant. If there is a comparable role that is vacant, you will be obliged to offer employment in that role.

Further, there are specific obligations in relation to employees who are on parental leave. An employer is required to discuss changes with the employee that are likely to have a significant impact on the employee’s position. An employer is also required to give the employee information about proposed changes – this includes providing reasons for the decision. This is essentially because employees who are on parental leave during this period are at a natural disadvantage in respect of the consultation process.

Need more information about parental leave rights?

The Parental Leave Guide details everything you need to know to meet your legal obligations and protect your business.

Find out more.


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