Your rights as a partner

Leave for partners

For many couples, it’s important to be together through pregnancy, birth, and the early years of your baby’s life. Being present for prenatal appointments, birth and recovery is something that many partners value. That’s why FSU has negotiated with a range of companies to gain partners leave. Partners might also be entitled to paid parental leave through their employer, or Dad and Partner Pay through the Australian Government Department of Human Services.

Leave for prenatal appointments

You might like to share the experience and provide support to your partner during her ultrasounds and appointments throughout the pregnancy. In some companies, like NAB, FSU has negotiated special leave for partners to attend some prenatal appointments during pregnancy. If you don’t have access to prenatal leave during your partner’s pregnancy, you could apply for time off in lieu or annual leave to attend.

Parental leave for partners at the time of birth

For many families, it’s important to be together when a new baby is born. This allows the workload to be shared and gives both parents an opportunity to bond with their new baby.

At a minimum, the National Employment Standards allow a partner of someone who is on parental leave to take up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave at the time of the child’s birth (provided they are a permanent employee with over 12 months’ service or a casual with 12 months of regular and systematic work with the employer). This includes same sex partners. This is called concurrent leave because both parents are at home providing care to the new child at the same time.

FSU has negotiated at least one week of paid parental leave for partners at the time of birth, in many companies in the finance industry. Many people also take annual leave or long service leave to extend their paid time at home with their new baby.

Accessing paid parental leave

Paid parental leave is often extended to partners. Your rights as a partner are set out in your Enterprise Agreement, company’s parental leave policy and the National Employment Standards. Check your agreement to learn more about your rights as a partner.

If you work for one of the major financial institutions you can check your leave entitlement here:

Understanding parental leave entitlements

If your partner is having a baby and you don’t work in the finance industry, check with your union to find out if you are entitled to paid leave at the time of your child’s birth.

You might also be eligible for up to 2 weeks government-funded Dad and Partner Pay.

Becoming your baby’s primary carer

Many families enjoy the benefits of both parents being able to take parental leave to provide primary care to the child at different times. This is especially important for families who find it difficult to access formal child care for babies under 2 years old.

Depending on where you work, you might be eligible to access more paid parental leave from your employer if you become the baby’s primary carer within the first 12 months.

For example, the baby’s mother might take parental leave at the time of birth and return to work before the baby’s first birthday. You might then take parental leave for up to 12 months to provide care for your baby whilst your partner is at work.

Another option that an increasing number of families are considering is when the non birth parent accesses paid parental leave on a part time basis. For example  the birth parent might return to work part time, 2 or 3 days a week when the baby is 6 months old. The non birth parent would then access his/her paid parental leave for the 2 or 3 days a week that the birth parent is working, until either the paid parental leave runs out or the baby is old enough that you’re more comfortable putting them into some type of formal care. This is a relatively “new” option for parents. If it’s something you’d like to explore, contact the FSU for advice and assistance.

You may also be eligible for up to 2 weeks government-funded Dad and Partner Pay.

Contact FSU

To find out more about rights for partners working in the finance industry, contact FSU Member Rights Centre on 1300 366 378.  If your partner is working in a different industry, they should contact their relevant union for further information on entitlements.

The information above is general. For specific advice about your situation, contact FSU on 1300 366 378.