Maternity leave for temporary and casual teachers

Charmaine O’Sheades
Women’s Coordinator

Temporary teachers

Temporary teachers can have access to paid maternity leave. This is the case if the temporary teacher has 40 weeks of continuous service, in the two years immediately prior to the anticipated date of birth and has a temporary engagement that covers the anticipated date of birth.

There is no requirement to cease work a certain number of weeks prior to the anticipated date of birth. Paid maternity leave can commence up to nine weeks prior to the anticipated date of birth but no later than the anticipated date of birth. What is the entitlement for paid maternity leave? The entitlement is 14 weeks full pay or 28 weeks half pay. If the temporary engagement ceases before all maternity leave payments have been made, the remaining maternity leave will be paid as a lump sum.

Can I still access unpaid maternity leave if I do not qualify for paid maternity leave? 

Yes,all temporary teachers can access unpaid maternity leave irrespective of the length of service.

Can I take part time maternity leave? 

Yes, following the paid portion of maternity leave you are able to return to work on part time basis. 

Can my temporary engagement be ended because I am pregnant? 

No, a school can’t end a teacher’s temporary engagement on the basis that the teacher is pregnant. This is discriminatory and if this occurs you should contact the Federation immediately. 

Can a school refuse to offer me a temporary engagement because I am pregnant? 

No, if you normally would have been offered work but were not because you are pregnant this is discriminatory and is in breach of the Department of Education and Communities’ 2013 memorandum to principals on the engagement of temporary and casual teachers. If this occurs you should contact Federation immediately.

Casual teachers

Casual teachers are not entitled to maternity leave but may be eligible for a maternity lump-sum payment, which is the equivalent to 14 weeks full pay.

Casual teachers must meet the eligibility requirements to access the payment. They need to have completed 40 continuous weeks of full time service. If a casual teacher accumulates more than five days on which they have not worked in that 40 week period, it will break the continuity of service and therefore they will be ineligible for any payment.

However, there is a grace period of 21 calendar days at commencement of each school year in which a teacher can be absent from full time duty and which will not count as a break in service, as long as they are available for work. The four weeks prior to the anticipated date of birth will also count as service for the 40 weeks continuous service.