You can get maternity leave when you become pregnant. Maternity leave gives you time off for the final stage of your pregnancy, when you may not feel fit for work. It also gives you time to recover from childbirth and to provide initial care for your child.
You may get maternity leave if you are a member of the:
You can take up to 52 weeks leave, which includes paid maternity leave, unpaid maternity leave, recreation leave or long service leave. You have to take your paid maternity leave first.
Your maternity leave starts the day after you stop work. If you stay at work until closer to the due date, you’ll still only get 52 weeks maternity leave.
You may also get parental leave. If you get Parental Leave Pay from the government, this doesn't affect your maternity leave provisions.
If you’re a member of the Reserves on Reserve service, you can’t get maternity leave. You can get a 52 week break in your minimum training service obligation.
If you get Parental Leave Pay from the government, this doesn't affect your maternity leave provisions.
You may be on a flexible service determination (weeks per month pattern of service). If you have completed 12 months' qualifying service, you may get maternity leave for your pattern of service, and leave without pay for your non-working period.
You can't take paid maternity leave at half pay. You can’t use other types of leave during the first 14 weeks.
If you have 12 months' or more continuous full-time service, you may get 14 weeks paid maternity leave.
If you reach 12 months continuous full-time service after you start maternity leave, you may get paid maternity leave for the rest of your required absence.
You can take paid maternity leave at half pay. You may get 28 weeks paid maternity leave at half pay. You can take a mix of leave at full pay and half pay.
You have to take your paid maternity leave during the first 14 weeks of maternity leave.
Paid maternity leave is counted as effective service.
You may get unpaid maternity leave for up to 52 weeks.
Unpaid maternity leave is not counted as effective service. It does count as continuous service.
You don't have to stay fit or deployable during unpaid maternity leave. You still get free medical care and you still get housing assistance.
If you have a medical certificate from your doctor stating that you are fit to work, you may be allowed to work up until the day before your baby is due.
If you want to start work again when you are required to be absent, you’ll need a medical certificate to say you’re fit. This applies if you want to come back earlier than six weeks after the birth of your child.
You may need to get a supporting certificate from an ADF medical officer.
You normally have to be off work from six weeks before your baby is due, until six weeks after birth or termination. Your required absence is counted as part of the 52 weeks maternity leave. Your required absence:
How long you have to be away depends on when you:
If you’re placed on convalescence (due to your pregnancy or another reason), you’ll serve it at the same time as your maternity leave.
You must report to an ADF health facility when you believe you are pregnant. This is for your safety and that of your baby. It ensures you:
Your Command will be informed once your pregnancy is confirmed.
You must apply in writing for maternity leave at full or half pay. If you are eligible to take maternity leave, it must be approved. Your application can’t be refused for any reason.
If your pregnancy ends before you have to leave work, how much leave you get depends on when your baby was due.
If your pregnancy ends on a date within 20 weeks before your baby was due, you may:
This applies even if it was not a live birth.
If your pregnancy ends earlier than 20 weeks before your baby was due you don’t get maternity leave. If you’re unfit for duty, you may get medical absence from duty.
You can apply to return to work after you have finished your required absence. You must apply in writing. You don’t have to provide a medical certificate.
If you want to resume duty on part-time leave without pay or on a flexible service determination, you should apply at the same time you apply to resume duty.
If you resume duty early, you can go on maternity leave again during the 52 week period.
You may apply for leave without pay for more than 6 weeks. If you become pregnant before you start your leave without pay, you can cancel your application.
If you’re on leave without pay for more than six weeks and become pregnant, you can't get maternity leave until your leave without pay period has finished.
If your leave without pay finishes during your required absence, you may get maternity leave for the rest of your required absence. This only applies if you have met the qualifying period for paid maternity leave.
More information about maternity leave, paid parental leave and leave without pay can be found in Chapter 5 Part 6.
As the name suggests, this Member's Guide is designed as a guide to help you understand how your pay and conditions work. It is not a legal document. Therefore, if there is any conflict between the Member's Guide and Defence Determination 2016/19, Conditions of Service (and the Determinations made by the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal), as compiled in PACMAN, PACMAN is the authority.
Print this page
Defence Service Centre
1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362)
Do you like the Member's Guide layout?
Would you like to see more information?
Do you have any suggestions for us to consider?
Help us improve the Members Guide by providing your feedback and suggestions.
Defence Pay and Conditions is a Defence People Group website.
Please email your website feedback to the DPG Communication Team.