For the first time in Australian cricket history, they will introduce a parental policy allowing players to take a year of paid maternity leave. When these cricketers have either given birth or adopted, they will be allowed to take 12 months of paid leave according to the new policy which is described as a game-changer.
The new policy was announced this week by both Cricket Australia as well as the Australian Cricketers’ Association. It supports professional cricketers throughout their pregnancy or adoption as well as their return back to the field. It will also assist them with their parental responsibilities. The policy will accommodate players by allowing up to 12 months of paid leave for those who are either giving birth or adopting.
However it goes beyond that as well, by supporting players who are in the role as primary carers of these young ones to get back to the field and it will also cover the expenses which are associated with caring for these children as well as when a carer has to be appointed to take care of the baby. This will include the costs of accommodation and flights involved to take care of the child. The child will be covered with these privileges up until the age of four years old.
Returning to the Field
This policy which will mostly benefit women’s teams in Australia, came into effect already on the 1st of July and has been under consultation already since 2017. It guarantees players who give birth and goes on maternity leave to a contract extension during the following year after they have given birth. Players will also be able to return to the field whenever they want within the year, subjected to being medically cleared as fit and healthy. All players in Australia with either state, national and Big Bash contracts, are covered by this policy. The policy also allows for players whose partners are pregnant or adopting but aren’t the primary carers themselves, to take up to three weeks paid leave anytime during the first 12 months after birth or adoption.
The primary purpose of the policy is to extend the careers of, especially female cricketers. Once a female cricketer becomes pregnant, it usually signals the end of her career said Alistair Nicholson, the Australian Cricketers’ Association’s chief executive. This often meant that female athletes in this sport have to make a choice of either pursuing their career on the field and miss out on having a family or deciding to have a family and they get robbed of the opportunity to reach their full potential on the ground. Alyssa Healy played a vital role in the process to get the new policy in place, and she considers this as a game-changer for the sport. She is proud of the fact the women will now be able to continue their careers and have the expenses of travelling with a child taken care of.