Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association have mutually announced the introduction of maternity leave for the first time in a bid to support professional cricketers through pregnancy, adoption, their return to play and parental responsibilities.
According to the new parental policy, players who either give birth or opt for adoption could take upto 12 months of paid leave.
In order to support players who are primary carers, the policy will also cover the costs associated with caring of their child and provide a carer--including accommodation and flights expenses-- until the child turns four.
The new policy, which will come into effect on July 1 and cover all the Australian players who have national, state or Big Bash League contracts, also gaurantee a contract extension to the players in the following year of their return to the field after giving birth, subject to medical clearance.
Meanwhile, players whose partner is pregnant or adopting can also take upto three weeks of paid leave anytime within a year of either the birth or adoption of their child as per the new parental policy.
Describing the move as a "game changer", Australian wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy said that she is proud to be a 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," cricket.com.au quoted Healy as saying.
"The policy is a game changer for players planning for the future while providing job security," she added.