Parental policy a ‘game changer’: Healy

Australia’s cricketers to be supported by new policy, which will allow players who give birth or adopt to take up to 12 months of paid parental leave

A new parental policy will see maternity leave introduced in Australian cricket for the first time, in a move Australian wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy says is a "game changer".

The policy, announced today by Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association, supports professional cricketers through pregnancy, adoption, their return to play and parental responsibilities. 

It will allow players who give birth or adopt to take up to 12 months of paid parental leave, while it also supports players who are primary carers after they return to the field, covering the costs associated with caring for their child and a carer – including accommodation and flights – until the child is four years old.

Players who take maternity leave will be guaranteed a contract extension the following year, while they will be able to transition into non-playing roles while pregnant until they give birth. They can then return to the field any time after giving birth, subject to medical clearance.

The policy came into effect on July 1, after a period of consultation that began in 2017, and covers Australian players who have state, national or Big Bash contracts.

It also entitles players whose partner is pregnant or adopting, and who are not the primary carer, to three weeks of paid leave, taken anytime within 12 months of either the birth or adoption of their child. 

"As a player, I’m proud to be part of a game with such a comprehensive and fit-for-purpose parental leave policy," Healy said.

"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.

New Zealand and Melbourne Renegades captain Amy Satterthwaite recently revealed she was expecting a baby with wife and teammate Lea Tahuhu, meaning she will miss the upcoming WBBL season.

"High performance sport is anything but a normal work environment and our policies for our players need to reflect this," Drew Ginn, Executive General Manager of High Performance at Cricket Australia said.

"The job is physical, the hours irregular and 100 per cent 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.

"Like Alyssa, I’m proud to stand alongside this policy as yet another example of how Australian Cricket continues to lead the way."