Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) have agreed to a new parental leave policy that will see maternity leave introduced to Australian cricket for the first time.
The new policy, which has been designed to support professional cricketers through pregnancy, adoption, their return to play and parental responsibilities, came into effect on July 1 this year and covers Australian players who have state, national or Big Bash contracts.
For players who fall pregnant, they can transfer to a non-playing role until they give birth and be eligible for 12-months paid parental leave.
They will also be guaranteed a contract extension for the following contract year, in line with their contractual arrangements.
It also entitles players whose partner is pregnant or adopting, and who are not the primary carer, up to three weeks of paid leave, taken anytime within 12 months of either the birth or adoption of their child.
“This policy is the combination of three years of collaboration within Australian Cricket, the ACA and the players, and we’re delighted with the outcome,” Clea Smith, General Manager of Member Programs at the Australian Cricketers’ Association, said.
“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.”
Australian Cricketer, Alyssa Healy, said: “As a player, I’m proud to be part of a game with such a comprehensive and fit-for-purpose parental leave policy.
“With the playing and travel demands on cricketers, I’m pleased this policy provides support to players, so if they choose to, can both care for their child and participate in the game.
“Seeing friends and family raise children, I know the physical and emotional toll parenting can have.
“The policy is a game-changer for players planning for the future while providing job security.”
No current female players at national or domestic level in Australia are parents, but former Australia star Sarah Elliott – who was part of the consultation process – returned to international cricket after giving birth in 2013, notably scoring a Test century against England while breastfeeding her son during breaks in play.