Maternity Leave Rules

Peter, our Accountant & Practice Management Specialist here at Rooms With Style has given us a crash course on all things maternity leave in accordance to FairWork’s requirements:

The employee needs to have worked for the employer for at least 12 months prior to taking leave.

10 weeks prior to starting maternity leave the employee needs to give notice in writing:

  • their intention to take leave
  • needs to indicate start of leave
  • return to work dates

4 weeks prior to maternity leave employee needs to confirm start of leave and return to work dates

The employee can take up to 12 months maternity leave OR 24 months if the employer agrees.  It must be taken in one continuous period of leave. (Can’t take 6 months, come back to work and then take another 6 months)

Extending leave: 

  • If the employee was initially going to take less than 12 months leave, they can, by providing at least 4 weeks notice, extend their leave up to 12 months
  • If the employee wants to extend leave beyond their initial 12 months, they can, by providing at least 4 weeks notice, to extend their leave up to 24 months.

The employer has to approve any extension – they can refuse based on: 

  • Impact on the workplace
  • Difficulties managing workload among existing employees
  • Difficulties in recruiting


If the employee wants to return to work early, the employer has to agree.  If the employer doesn’t agree (ie they already have someone engaged to work the maternity leave period) then the employee will simply need to stick to the original return to work date.


Note – there are additional rules that apply depending on whether the employees partner takes “parental” leave.


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