Maternity leave in Australia: Employee and employer experiences: Report of a survey

Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) Monograph No 7


You are in an archived section of the AIFS website 


Content type
Research report

December 1988

This historical publication is only available as a PDF document and does not meet the latest web accessibility standards.

If you wish to access this publication in another format, please contact us and we will try to procure one for you.


Maternity leave benefits have been widely available to Australian female employees since 1979. Ninety-four per cent of female wage and salary earners in Australia work under federal and State awards that provide up to 52 weeks unpaid maternity leave. Some areas of the public sector provide paid maternity leave, usually twelve weeks. The purpose of this study was to obtain a broad overview of the operation of maternity leave in Australia from the employee and employer perspective. Findings from the survey include: 78 per cent of all maternity leave is taken in the public sector, only 21 per cent in the private sector; the level of ignorance about maternity leave rights and regulations is marked, on the part of many employers and their female employees; and, there are major differences between conditions of maternity leave for women in different sectors of the workforce.

Includes copies of the "WREIP Maternity Leave Study 1985" and the "WREIP Maternity Leave Study 1986 Employer Survey."