Welcome to Sisters In Legislation, information.com.au’s weekly column fixing all your authorized issues. This week, our resident legal professionals and real-life sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett from Maurice Blackburn assist a frightened mum who has saved her being pregnant secret from her boss.

QUESTION: I’ve labored for my employer for nearly two years however I’ve been on a collection of short-term contracts. Initially it was for 12 months after which it was prolonged for one more 12 months. I really like my job and would like to have a everlasting contract. My present stint expires in early December and my boss has stated they’re doubtless to present me one other 12-month contract. The factor is, I’m six months pregnant and would want to go on maternity depart in February. I’ve saved it a secret from my boss (thank God for Zoom conferences!) as I’m frightened they gained’t give me a contract in the event that they know. When do I legally have to inform them by? Additionally, what rights do I’ve in relation to paid maternity depart? I’m frightened I’m going to be left broke with a new child. I’ve been loyal to this firm and really feel like I deserve maternity pay however I do know they gained’t give it to me until they legally must. – Mary, NSW

ANSWER: Congratulations in your being pregnant! Planning for a brand new child will be such an thrilling time, however we perceive it will also be difficult – particularly if there are issues round your work and funds.

In Australia there is no such thing as a entitlement to paid parental depart, however some corporations – normally bigger ones – do present it.

In case your employer offers paid parental depart, you’ll doubtless discover the main points in your employment contract, enterprise settlement, or your employer’s parental depart coverage.

You must evaluation these paperwork and see what your entitlements are, noting that inside insurance policies are usually not legally enforceable in the identical manner as an employment contract or enterprise settlement.

For those who don’t have entry to paid parental depart, then you’ll be able to ask to make use of your annual depart and your employer could comply with pay a portion of this for an extended interval (ie half of your regular wage for double the time).

You aren’t entitled to make use of any accrued private (sick) depart on your being pregnant until you’ve got a pregnancy-related sickness.

It feels like you’ve got met the work check to be eligible for government-paid parental depart. You must test the Companies Australia website for extra details about this scheme, together with whether or not you meet the earnings check.

In case your employer doesn’t present paid parental depart, all workers in Australia are eligible for 12 months unpaid parental depart if they’ve accomplished at the very least 12 months of steady service with their employer.

This regulation additionally applies to informal workers in the event that they’ve been recurrently or systematically employed for a similar interval. Given your circumstances, you might be more likely to be eligible for this unpaid parental depart.

There isn’t any authorized requirement to inform your employer that you’re pregnant. Nonetheless, if you happen to want to entry unpaid parental depart, then you have to present them with written discover at the very least 10 weeks earlier than you propose to begin the depart.

For those who don’t present the required written discover, you then gained’t be capable to entry unpaid parental depart and the protections it provides to workers, such because the entitlement to return to your pre-parental depart place, or an equal place, upon your return from parental depart.

Your employer could ask for affirmation of your being pregnant, equivalent to a medical certificates. Virtually, this doesn’t occur typically. Nonetheless, as you’ve got been working from dwelling and haven’t disclosed your being pregnant, they could ask for it.

For those who inform your employer you might be pregnant and so they terminate your employment, you then might be able to make a declare for being pregnant discrimination. Strict deadlines of between six and twelve months apply for making discrimination complaints, so it’s best to get authorized recommendation as quickly as doable if you happen to suppose you’ve got skilled discrimination as a consequence of your being pregnant.

Your employer can’t terminate a short-term contract earlier than its finish date until that is particularly allowed by your contract. In case your contract will not be renewed, you might be able to declare for unfair dismissal if you happen to can reveal your employment got here to the top at your employer’s initiative. Proof equivalent to that the intention to resume the contract was communicated to you, the contract had been renewed beforehand and the work you might be doing is more likely to proceed, could also be helpful with such a declare.

You may additionally have a normal protections declare towards your employer if you happen to notify them of your intention to take unpaid parental depart after which your contract will not be renewed or different hostile motion is taken towards you.

Now we have additionally thought-about whether or not you could have a proper to transform from a set short-term contract to a everlasting contract.

Sadly, there are not any nationwide legal guidelines requiring this. Numerous state authorities employers do present for this, as do a lot of personal corporations of their employment contracts or enterprise agreements. You must evaluation these paperwork to test your rights.

For extra particular recommendation about your state of affairs, it’s best to contact an employment lawyer or the Truthful Work Ombudsman.

This authorized data is normal in nature and shouldn’t be considered particular authorized recommendation or relied upon. Individuals requiring explicit authorized recommendation ought to seek the advice of a solicitor.

In case you have a authorized query you prefer to Alison and Jillian to reply, please e mail tales@information.com.au

Get extra from Alison and Jillian on their Fb web page

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