We have an employee who is currently taking 6 months of unpaid parental leave as the primary care-giver to her new child.
She wishes to apply for a further 6 months of unpaid leave, making a total of 12 months of unpaid leave. We understand the employee has an entitlement to request up to 12 months of unpaid leave and any extension after this period can be considered by the company.
Are we obligated to approve the request for a further 6 months and treat it as part of the 12-month entitlement? Or should it be considered as an extension of unpaid parental leave, in which case we can consider accepting or rejecting the request on business grounds?
An employee is entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. Therefore, the additional 6 months should be treated as part of the 12-month entitlement. It is not treated similarly to that beyond 12-month request, in which the company can consider accepting or rejecting on business grounds.