Leave arrangement provisions

In enhancing work/life balance initiatives, the University of Southern Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014-2017 and the Human Resources Policies and Procedures also contain an array of leave arrangement provisions. These include:

Parental leave

Any employee, other than a casual employee, who has worked for the University on a continuous basis for 12 months or more, can apply for parental leave to care for their newborn or newly adopted child for maximum of 52 weeks.  The birth mother is entitled to 14 weeks maternity leave paid at the normal salary and partners who work at USQ entitled to two weeks partner leave at normal salary.  In addition, eligible employees may also access a further six weeks of paid primary care-giver's leave and an additional six weeks leave which may be banked and taken up to the child's second birthday.  Eligible employees will now have access to a total of 26 weeks paid leave.

An employee who assumes the principal role of providing care for an adopted child or a child born through a surrogacy arrangement under the age of five is entitled to a period of 52 weeks leave, of which up to 14 weeks of unbroken leave will be taken at normal salary.  These employees may also access primary care-giver's leave and the additional six weeks leave.

Contact with the employee on parental leave is maintained weekly through providing information on career opportunities, organisational change, major issues etc to assist the person to re-enter the workforce.

An employee on approved parental leave may take annual leave or long service leave in lieu of unpaid elements of parental leave.  An employee returning to work after parental leave is entitled to be placed in the position held prior to the leave commencing and at the same classification and salary level. As of 1 July 2013 (in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009), the employee has the right to request flexible working arrangements. The arrangements are subject to the operational needs of the workplace and the mutual agreement between the employee, the supervisor and/or the relevant delgate. Request for flexible work arrangements may be refused on reasonable business grounds.  Employees seeking this arrangement are required to complete and submit a Flexible Work Arrangements form to their supervisor.

Paid Parental Leave Government Scheme

As of 1 January 2011 the Federal Government introduced a government funded Paid Parental Leave scheme. A few quick Paid Parental Leave Facts:

  • The Paid Parental Leave scheme is funded by the Australian Government.
  • The scheme will provide Parental Leave pay to mothers and adoptive parents who have been working and who have a baby or adopt a child on or after 1 January 2011.
  • To be eligible for the scheme, claimants will need to meet the Paid Parental Leave work test, the income test and the residency requirements.
  • Paid Parental Leave is for a maximum of 18 weeks.
  • Parental Leave pay will be at the rate of the National Minimum Wage. Parental Leave pay will be treated in the same way as other taxable income.
  • Parents can nominate when they wish to receive their pay. The Parental Leave pay must be taken in one continuous 18 week period. The start date can be on or after the child’s date of birth, (but not before) and all the pay must be received within the first 12 months after the date of birth.
  • Parental Leave pay can be received before, after, or at the same time as employer-provided paid leave such as annual leave and employer-provided paternity leave.

To notify the University of absences associated with the Paid Parental Leave Government Scheme, the Absence Request form must be completed.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Paid Parental Leave Scheme are available. The Family Assistance Office has also developed a Parental Leave Pay guide to assist employees with understanding the scheme.

Dad and Partner Pay Scheme

As of 1 October 2012 the Federal Government introduced a government funded Dad and Partner Pay scheme for births or adoptions expected on or after 1 January 2013.  An eligible employee must be on leave without pay from USQ in order to receive payment under the Dad and Partner Pay Scheme, and must submit an absence request form to apply for this leave.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Dad and Partner Pay Scheme are available.

Personal leave

An employee, other than a casual employee, is entitled to pro rata personal leave at the rate of 10 working days on ordinary rates for each year of service.  Personal leave is cumulative and paid in advance during the first year of service.

Carer's leave

The University recognises and supports the important role of carers in our community, and employees with responsibilities in relation to either members of their immediate family, or members of their household, who need their care and support will be entitled to three specific days leave per calendar year (non cumulative) for absences to provide care and support for these persons when they are ill, injured, require ongoing care and assistance due to disability, frailty, chronic illness or pain, or there is an unexpected emergency affecting their immediate family.

Employees applying for additional carer’s leave can do so by completing the paper-based Absence Request form. The entitlement for additional carer’s leave will not show on an employee leave balances through Employee Self Service.

Employees who commence employment throughout the calendar year will be entitled to carer's leave on a pro-rata basis, according to their commencement date.

In acknowledging the vital service and support that carers provide, employees who have utilised their three specific days carer's leave may then utilise personal leave entitlements to provide additional care.  Annual leave, leave without pay, time off in lieu or ‘make-up time' may also be taken for the purpose of providing care with the consent of the University.

Compassionate leave

Employees are entitled to paid leave of absence for up to three days per occasion upon the death of a close relative.  USQ has a very broad definition of ‘close relative'.  In addition, where an employee requires additional compassionate leave to fulfil cultural requirements or to travel overseas, paid special leave may be granted.

Leave without pay 

Leave without pay may be granted to a maximum of two years in order to meet an employee's particular need, subject to the convenience of the University.

Academic development and outside studies program

The Academic Development and Outside Studies Program (ADOSP) provides a period of paid leave for sustained research, scholarly activity or professional experience. As an additional benefit it may also help academic employees establish or renew links with colleagues in appropriate fields outside the University for the purpose of enhancing their own research and/or teaching within the University.  ADOSP aims to maintain and improve professional and vocational knowledge and skills.  All continuing and fixed term academic employees are eligible to apply for an initial period of ADOSP subject to having served a minimum qualifying period of three years.

Professional development leave 

The University may grant Professional Development Leave (PDL) to professional employees in order to stimulate and increase employee effectiveness through professional development activities undertaken outside the University.  Continuing and fixed term professional employees are eligible to apply for an initial period of PDL subject to having served a minimum qualifying period of three years. 

Study assistance 

All employees appointed on a continuing basis or to a fixed-term contract for more than 12 months may apply to receive study assistance from the University when undertaking an approved course of study.  Time release may be granted to all employees to the equivalent of a maximum of two hours per course per week for each semester of study, and a financial assistance amount dependent upon the level the program to employees at Academic Level A and Professional Staff Level 10 and below, payable on proof of successful completion of the course of study.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural and Ceremonial Leave

University employees who identify and are accepted as members of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities and as of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent by such communities will be entitled to paid leave up to a maximum of five working days, and leave without pay up to a maximum of ten working days, per calendar year for the purpose of fulfilling ceremonial obligations. Fractional employees are entitled to this leave on a pro-rata basis.