Women in safety work vest holding hard hat

Pregnancy, parental leave and return to work: know your rights

This guide will help employees to:

  • Understand the laws that relate to pregnancy, parental leave and return to work
  • Effectively discuss their rights with their employer

This guide sets out employee entitlements and responsibilities and employer obligations in relation to pregnancy, parental leave and return to work under several different laws including the federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984, state or territory discrimination legislation, the federal Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and federal, state and territory work health and safety legislation. These laws apply to most workplaces in Australia.

This project would not have been possible without the generous support of PwC.

This guide provides information based on key questions that arise when:

  • working while pregnant
  • requesting and going on parental leave
  • returning to work
  • commencing and ending employment.

The guide also sets out:

  • useful publications produced by the Australian Human Rights Commission, Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission
  • information on where employees can access assistance and
  • the various avenues for making a complaint.

This guide is the result of extensive consultation and collaboration with all relevant government departments and government agencies.

For a summary of this document, see the Employee Quick Guide.

General disclaimer: This guide provides general information only. It is not legally binding and it should not be used as a substitute to individual legal advice. Refer to the glossary for definition of terms used.