Frustrated over a long term absence?

Having an employee on a ‘long term absence‘ can be very frustrating to manage. We understand that it can be hard to plan ahead and balance your team. But you need to be very careful how you deal with your frustration, as any rash move can land you in significant trouble.

First, you need to understand your rights and obligations as the employer, as well as those of the employee. This is not always straight forward, and will depend on the nature of the leave and the circumstances of your business. You then need to formulate and carefully implement an effective strategy to allow the employee to return to work.

We can help you deal with a long term absence sensitively, and in a way that minimises workplace disruption and the chances of claims and fines.

Call us on 1300 88 23 86 for a no-obligation chat with our lawyers about how you can get things moving forward.

Extended parental leave

‘Parental leave’ allows your employees to take time off work for the birth or adoption of a child. There are a number of entitlements that make up ‘parental leave’, including:

  • Employer-funded paid parental leave, including paid maternity and paternity leave;
  • Government-funded Parental Leave Pay (being 18 weeks at the National Minimum Wage);
  • Unpaid parental leave;
  • Adoption leave; and
  • The right to return to work.

There are certain legal minimum entitlements that all workplaces must provide. In addition to this, some workplaces have policies providing additional leave and benefits.

Staff who have worked for you for at least 12 months (including long term casual employees) are entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave under the National Employment Standards (NES). They also have the right to request an additional 12 months of unpaid leave. If your employee requests a further twelve months’ leave, the request can only be refused on reasonable grounds.

Your staff also have a ‘return-to-work guarantee’. This gives them the right to return to the same position they held before their leave. If their position no longer exists, then they have the right to be transferred to an available position which is nearest in status and pay to their pre-parental leave position, and for which they are suitably qualified.

Call us on 1300 88 23 86 for a no-obligation chat about your particular parental leave situation.

Constructing ‘return to work’ plans

If one of your employees has suffered a workplace injury and is on an approved workers’ compensation claim, you have a statutory obligation to devise and carry out a return to work plan.

The purpose of the return to work plan is to facilitate the employee’s gradual reintroduction into your workplace. You need to formulate this plan in consultation with the employee and relevant medical professionals.

A well-developed plan includes adjustments to the employee’s ordinary duties for an interim period while the settle back into work, and assigns a senior employee to be the returning employee’s ‘buddy’ or mentor during this period.

We can assist you develop a return to work plan, as well as manage an employee who is not participating in good faith.

Call us today on 1300 88 23 86 for a no-obligation chat about how your return to work plan and any issues you are currently facing or anticipate.

What’s the next step?

Our specialist employment lawyers can help you manage employee leave by:

  • Clarifying your legal obligations to provide leave and the rights and obligations staff have while on leave;
  • Drafting leave policies to ensure your business deals with requests for long term leave and return to work arrangements in a practical, fair and compliant manner;
  • Managing any complex overlap between long term absence and poor performance; and
  • Drafting and helping you effectively implement return to work plans.

Call us today on 1300 88 23 86 and find out how we can help you manage your employee leave in a way that minimises workplace disruption and maximises productivity.