Surrogate parents in Queensland covered by state industrial relations laws will be entitled to unpaid parental leave under a bill introduced to state parliament.
The proposed legislation will allow the new primary caregiver of a child, who is born as the result of a surrogacy arrangement, to take unpaid leave from work. The new parents would be entitled to a one-week unbroken period of “short surrogacy leave” to be used when a child starts residing with them and a further 51 weeks of unpaid “long surrogacy leave”.
Under the Qld IR system, natural mothers are entitled to 52-weeks’ unpaid maternity leave and can apply for an optional 104-week extension.
Under the new Bill, surrogate parents may apply for an eight-week extension to short surrogacy leave and a 96-week extension to long surrogacy leave. In addition, the Bill provides for an extra two days’ unpaid leave to attend compulsory interviews or court hearings associated with surrogacy arrangements.
The new parent must give the employer at least 10 weeks’ written notice of the intention to take long surrogacy leave and at least four weeks’ written notice of the exact dates on which they wish to start and end the leave. If they want to extend the leave, the new parent must give notice in writing to the employer at least 14 days before the intended extension. The parental leave is an entitlement for any full- or part-time employee who has at least 12 months’ continuous employment with the same company or is a long-term casual employee.
Laws relating to surrogacy differ in each state and territory. The Surrogacy Act 2010 was passed by the Qld Parliament in June, legalising the court-sanctioned transfer of parentage of children born as a result of surrogacy arrangements, but prohibiting any form of “commercial” surrogacy.
Surrogate parents will be covered by the 18-week paid parental leave scheme, due to be introduced federally in January 2011. Both the surrogate mother and the new primary carer of the child will be able to apply for parental leave pay.
Source: Thomson Reuters Workforce news, 20 September 2010. For the full article, sign up for a FREE TWO-WEEK TRIAL of Workforce and other Thomson Reuters premium news services. Click here to sign up.
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