Does an employer have to agree to an employee’s request to extend unpaid parental leave?

Employees can request to extend the 12-month period of unpaid parental leave up to an additional 12 months.  The request must be made in writing at least 4 weeks before the end date of the originally requested period of leave and the employer must reply to this request within 21 days.

An employer can only refuse a request to extend the period of unpaid parental leave on reasonable business grounds such as:

  • the impact on the workplace’s finance, productivity or customer service
  • difficulties managing the workload among existing staff, or
  • difficulties in recruiting a replacement employee.

The response must be in writing and the reasons for the refusal of the request must be outlined. Employers cannot refuse the request unless they have given the employee the opportunity to discuss it with them.  Please contact CCSA Member Support on 1800 991 602 (option 2) if you are considering refusing a request to extend unpaid parental leave.