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Partner’s Leave

Published May 9, 2018 (last updated on April 17, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Copywriter and Content Creator

While it is common for female employees who have given birth to take parental leave, leave options for a spouse or partner are often unclear or misunderstood. Partner’s leave is a form of unpaid leave that lets a spouse or partner take time off work to care for a newborn or child under six years of age.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Partner’s leave, an employee must work for the same employer for at least an average of 10 hours per week in the six or twelve months before the arrival of a newborn or the transfer of a child into their permanent care.

Below are the following entitlements for partner’s leave:

  • six to twelve months: one week of unpaid partner’s leave

  • twelve or more months: two weeks of unpaid partner’s leave

Definition of a Spouse or Partner

The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 defines ‘spouse’ as a partner in a marriage or de facto relationship. A de facto relationship is any couple – whether it be man and a woman, man and a man, or woman and a woman:

  • aged 18 years or older

  • living together as a couple

  • unmarried

To determine if two people living together are classified as a couple, the following factors are taken into consideration:

  • duration of the relationship

  • if the two people are financially independent or rely on one another for financial support

  • whether the relationship is sexual or not

  • if the couple share or own certain assets together

  • if a child is present, how the caring responsibilities are shared between one another

  • the type of household duties shared between one another

When Can an Employee Take Partner’s Leave?

A spouse or partner may commence their Partner’s leave:

  • up to 21 days before the expected arrival of the child or adoption date; or

  • up to 21 days after the baby is born or they begin to assume permanent care of the adopted child; or

  • ending 21 days after the baby is born (unless the baby is discharged from a hospital more than 21 days after the birth, in which case the partner’s leave timeframe ends on the day the child is discharged)

  • on a separate date that is agreed between employer and employee

Additional Time Off

If an employee needs longer than one to two weeks of partner’s leave, they can put in a request for extended leave. To be eligible for extended leave, an employee must work for the same employer for at least 12 months before the expected date of delivery or the date on which they begin to assume permanent care of a child under the age of six years of age.

Partner’s leave policy

An Employer should have a written partner’s leave policy. This policy should clarify the Employer’s policy in accordance with the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987.

It should include the following information:

  • the purpose of the policy

  • who is eligible for Partner’s leave?

  • how to apply for Partner’s leave

  • terms and conditions of the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act

Clearly outlining the Employer’s partner’s leave policy can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure employees feel supported.

For advice on how to manage leave in the workplace, contact Employsure on 0800 568 012.

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