A Canberra Australian Federal Police officer has lost her Federal Court bid to have her maternity leave counted towards her service, which she says cost her a promotion.
Federal agent Claire O'Neil chose to take 32 weeks maternity leave when she had a child in 2015.
Officers are entitled under their enterprise bargaining agreement to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, however, Ms O'Neil opted for 32 weeks at half pay.
Upon returning to work Ms O'Neil was unable to count the full 32 weeks towards a promotion she was expecting, which would have seen her increase her rank and salary.
Under the agreement she was only entitled to claim the 16 weeks of leave.
Ms O'Neil, assisted by the Australian Federal Police Association, brought a case against the AFP in the Federal Court for discrimination saying female police officers were being disadvantaged by choosing to have children.
The AFP argued the agreement allowed for 16 weeks added to an officer's service record irrespective of how the maternity leave was taken.
Lawyers advocating for Ms O'Neil argued workplace relations laws recognised a distinction between paid and unpaid leave and at half pay Ms O'Neil was entitled to the full 32 weeks.
However, Justice Robert Bromwich dismissed the case on Friday saying the agreement only set out the provision and timing of maternity leave payments and did not cover recognition of service.
He said it could create a situation where officers of the same rank, who were absent on maternity leave at the same rates could receive disparate service recognition based on an arrangement not covered by the legislation.