Cricket Australia introduces 12 months of paid maternity and adoption leave, updates parental policy

Cricket Australia introduced 12 months of paid maternity leave along with extra benefits for women in what was a historic move by the board.

Australia Women's Cricket Team
Australia Women’s Cricket Team. Pic Credits:Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia (CA) along with Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), updated the parental policy for the cricketers with an aim to help them start a family without hampering their further prospects of playing the game.

The policy will be funded by the players’ payment pool and will incorporate adoption and foster care along with giving compassionate leave to players in case they have a miscarriage or childbirth.

It also includes travel and accommodation for children upto age four, along with a carer. Cricket grounds will have a safe breastfeeding space for players who are nursing their babies. The cricketers will also retain their central contracts for the upcoming year and they can return to the team anytime after giving birth, subject to medical clearance. This is applicable to all the players having national, state or Big Bash contracts.

As reported by Brittany Carter of mobile.abc.net.au, Alyssa Healy, the Southern Stars’ wicketkeeper and an integral part of the team, believes that such a policy could help players juggle their professional and personal lives better and help ease their transition into the cricket field after maternity. Being a female and playing sports can be difficult, but the support of such policies can make life easier for women.

She recalled an incident from 2013 when she was touring England for her first overseas Ashes and she saw Sarah Elliot breastfeeding her baby during the lunch break of a test match.

“Times have changed, and I remember touring back in the UK on my first Ashes trip overseas and Sarah Elliott at the time was breastfeeding in the changeroom at the lunch breaks of a Test match because she’d just had a baby. Fortunately, her husband could tour with her at the time. But here I was, a really young naive cricketer sitting in the change room next to someone who was breastfeeding and caring for a child while she was making a 100 in a Test match”, Healy said to mobile.abc.net.au.

Key features of the parental policy:

– Paid maternity and adoption leave up to 12 months

– Travel and accommodation for children under 4-years of age and a carer

– Guaranteed space for breastfeeding at every international and domestic cricket ground

– Compassionate leave available to those suffering miscarriage or stillbirth

– Pregnant athletes will be transitioned to a non-playing job once it is deemed too unsafe to continue playing (unless they are medically unable to do so)

– Training facilities will be given to the players under parental leave