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Hair & Beauty Australia Industry Association

Unpaid Parental Leave for the Hair and Beauty Industry

Posted September 28, 2016

All hair and beauty industry employees in Australia are eligible to unpaid parental leave if they have completed at least 12 months of continuous service with their employer. This includes casual employees if they have been employed by the salon on a regular and systematic basis for a sequence of periods over at least 12 months.

Entitlement to Parental Leave:

Eligible employees may take a separate period of up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. Parental leave is only available to employees who have or will have responsibility for the care of a child. The leave must be associated with:

  • the birth of a child to the employee
  • spouse, or the employee’s de facto partner or the placement of a child under 16 with the employee for adoption

Requirements for taking Unpaid Parental Leave:

  • leave must be taken in a single continuous period (paid leave, such as annual leave, may be taken at the same time)
  • leave starts at the birth or placement of the child or, in the case of a pregnant employee, up to six weeks before the expected date of birth
  • leave may start at any time within 12 months after the birth or placement of the child

Can an Employee extend their Unpaid Parental Leave?

Employee’s in the hair and beauty industry taking 12 months parental leave may request an extension of a further 12 months leave, up to 24 months in total. The request must be in writing and given to the salon owner at least four weeks before the end of the employee’s initial period of parental leave. The salon owner must respond in writing within 21 days, stating whether they grant or refuse the request. The salon owner may only refuse if there are reasonable business grounds to do so, and must detail their reasons in writing. ‘Reasonable business grounds’ for refusing a request may include:

  • the effect on the workplace (e.g. the impact on finances, efficiency, productivity, customer service)
  • the inability to manage the workload among existing staff
  • the inability to recruit a replacement employee

Notice and Evidence Requirements for taking Unpaid Parental Leave:

An employee is not entitled to take unpaid parental leave unless they:

  • inform their salon owner of their intention to take unpaid parental leave by giving at least 10 weeks’ notice (unless it is not possible to do so)
  • specify the intended start and end dates of the leave
  • at least four weeks before the intended start date confirm the intended start and end dates or advise the salon owner of any changes to the intended start and end dates (unless it is not possible to do so)

A salon owner can request evidence that would satisfy a ‘reasonable person’ of the actual or expected date of birth of a child e.g. a medical certificate or letter from specialist, or the day or expected day of placement of a child under 16.

Return to Work Guarantee:

 Once the employee returns from unpaid parental leave they are entitled to return to work guarantee entitling them to:

  • their pre-parental leave position or
  • if that position no longer exists, available positions for which they are qualified and suited, which is nearest in status and pay to their pre-parental leave position

Need clarification, contact Hair & Beauty Australia on 02 9221 9911, or visit

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