Australia thumped Sri Lanka in the first ODI. © Getty Images

In a landmark move, Cricket Australia (CA) on Friday (October 11) launched a parental leave policy to support professional cricketers’ through pregnancy, adoption and their return to play and parental responsibilities.

The policy will see maternity leave introduced in Australian cricket for the first time, in a move Alyssa Healy, the wicket-keeper batter, called a “game changer”.

“As a player, I’m proud to be part of a game with such a comprehensive and fit-for-purpose parental leave policy,” she said. “With the playing and travel demands on cricketers, I’m pleased this policy provides support to players, so if they choose to, they 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.”

According to the policy, players who take maternity leave will now be guaranteed a contract extension the following year in line with their contractual arrangements. In addition to this they will be able to transition into a non-playing role until they give birth, and will also be given 12 months paid parental leave. They can then return to the field any time after giving birth, subject to medical clearance.

Players who have a partner who gives birth will also be entitled to three weeks of paid leave on birth or adoption of the child.

Finally, one of the major highlights of the policy includes travel support for players who are primary carers of the child. This will include flight, accommodation and other travel expenses that are incurred on tour. This will be available until the child is four years old.

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

“High performance sport is anything but a normal work environment and our policies for our players need to reflect this,” said  Drew Ginn, Executive General Manager of High Performance at Cricket Australia. “The job is physical, the hours irregular and 100 percent commitment is expected at all times. This is why we’ve developed such a tailored policy taking into consideration all players 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.”

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