The Federal Government's Paid Parental Leave (GPPL) scheme recently passed parliament, and will apply to births or adoptions on or after 1 January 2011.
The scheme provides 18 weeks of government-funded paid parental leave to eligible working parents. The leave is paid in instalments at the federal minimum wage as set by the Fair Work Act 2009 — currently, the rate is $569.90 a week.By Alison Knight, CrossroadsHR
A person (employee, contractor or self-employed) is eligible for the paid leave if they are the primary care giver to a new born child or adopted child under 16. They must satisfy:
Arranging GPPL is the responsibility of the eligible working parent. The parent must apply to the Family Assistance Office in the period between:
GPPL will not be paid for leave taken 12 months or more after the birth or placement.
More than one person may take a period of paid parental leave in relation to the same child.
The total period of paid leave in relation to a child is capped at 18 weeks. For example:
The period of paid parental leave is not additional to the period of unpaid leave available under the Fair Work Act. The period of paid parental leave will be taken at the same time as the equivalent proportion of unpaid leave, and before, after or concurrently with other paid parental leave entitlements.
In most cases the new entitlements under the Bill will be in addition to existing paid parental leave benefits.
GPPL does not count as 'paid leave' for the National Employment Standards and therefore does not count as service.
The entitlement is funded by the Federal Government.
Generally, the payments will be administered by the employer — unless this is not appropriate (for example, an employer cannot be determined or the claimant is a contractor or a self-employed person). In that case, the Federal Government's Family Assistance Office will handle the payments.
If an employer is to be paymaster for an employee's GPPL, then the Family Assistance Office will contact and advise the employer of this.
The Family Assistance Office will arrange to transfer GPPL money to the employer for the employer to pay to the employee on leave. Payments can be made in the employer's normal pay schedule and with other payments that the employee might be receiving, if any.
The Family Assistance Office will endeavour to transfer the GPPL money to the employer prior to the relevant pay period. An employer is not obliged to pay GPPL if the money has not been transferred in time. Late transfers can be paid in the next pay round.
This part of the GPPL scheme does not start until 1 July 2011; although an employer may opt to become paymaster for their employees taking GPPL before that date should they wish to do so.
The payments are taxed as wages in the hands of the parents.
During a period of GPPL, an employee may attend work on up to 10 days (for meetings, training, etc) so as to keep in touch.
'Keeping in touch' must be by mutual agreement and be paid for as work (in addition to the GPPL). It counts as service.
Employers should consider:
Contact Kim Murrells at Crossroads HR on 9862 5900 if you would like to talk further about Paid Parental Leave or other HR issues.
Leigh is a partner in the Maddocks Tax & Revenue team.
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