In brief 2 min read
The Federal Government has amended the paid parental leave scheme, which will enable greater flexibility for eligible working parents in how they take their paid parental leave (PPL).
The Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) 2020, provides parents with the option to access the last 30 days of their 18-week PPL as they choose, so long as it within 2 years of the birth or adoption of a child.
This aligns with the Government's 2018-19 MYEFO (Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook) plan to introduce the 'Women’s Economic Security Package’. The amendment provides a gradual ease back into the workforce and increases women's workforce participation.
The amendment also allows eligible parents to elect to split their PPL and keep a flexible component of up to six weeks of their entitlement to be used within the first two years after the birth or adoption.
The key word is flexibility:
- Parents can return to work at any time following their 12-week PPL period and claim their final 6 weeks (30 days) on any day, or block of days, whenever they choose within the two-year timeframe.
- The time limit for families to access PPL has been extended from 12 months to 24 months.
- There is no increase or decrease in the PPL benefit. The maximum amount of PPL remains 18 weeks.
- There is no requirement to take the leave flexibly. If parents want to take the 18 weeks continuously, they still can.
- There are different eligibility rules for the flexible PPL period. On the day a person wishes to take PPL flexibly they must:
- meet the work and income test;
- be on leave or not working;
- be the primary carer of the child; and
- meet residency requirements and not be in a Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period.
- The changes will only apply to families whose children are born after 1 July 2020.
To minimise the administrative burden on employers, the Department of Social Services will administer payments for the flexible component of the leave. So, if a parent comes back to work for 3 days a week, the Department will pay the employee directly for the two days a week of PPL taken flexibly for the remainder of the 30 days.