National governing body Cricket Australia has introduced a new paid parental leave policy for its professional cricket players, offering up to 12 months of paid parental leave for birth mothers.
The new policy, launched on 11 October 2019, has been designed to support Australian cricket players with pregnancy, adoption, returning to work and undertaking parental responsibilities.
Under the policy, pregnant employees are able to transfer to a non-playing role until the birth of their child; they are then eligible to take up to 12 months of paid parental leave and are guaranteed a contract extension for the following year, in line with their existing contractual arrangements. Primary birth parents can return to playing cricket at any time after their child’s birth, subject to medical clearance.
Primary carers will receive a travel support benefit for their child; this covers expenses for the child’s flights and accommodation, for example. A carer will be also available until the child is four-years-old.
The parental leave policy has come to fruition as the result of a partnership between Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) and the players themselves; a consultation commenced in 2017 to develop the family-friendly policy.
Drew Ginn, executive general manager of high performance at Cricket Australia, said: “High performance sport is anything but a normal work environment and our policies for our players need to reflect this.
“The job is physical, the hours irregular and 100% commitment is expected at all times. This is why we’ve developed such a tailored policy, taking into consideration all player and key stakeholder feedback.
“I’m proud to stand alongside this policy as yet another example of how Australian Cricket continues to lead the way.”
Clea Smith, general manager of member programmes at the ACA, added: “This policy is the combination of three years of collaboration with Australian Cricket, the ACA and the players, and we’re delighted with the outcome.
“This is a world-leading, player-centred policy, providing balance in the lives of all players. The policy is designed to keep female players in the game for longer, which will have a positive impact at all levels of the game.”