Changes to the Paid Parental Leave Scheme

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The changes were implemented at the end of this financial year on July the 1st 2020 for eligible employees.  We believe, the paid parental leave scheme is not controlled by the Fair Work Commission Act – it is established by parliament on a national level in Australia. The Fair Work act only dictates the general protection, the protection around leave, and the taking of leave.  

The paid parental leave scheme is run by the Department of Human Services. 

Whether you are an employer or an employee it is important to know your rights and any updated changes when it comes to new laws that may affect you and your line of work. 

The Paid Parental leave scheme plays an important role in making workplaces more family-friendly and supports parents during the first year with their new child. It allows and recognises that parents need to take time off work to care for their child.  In addition, It helps to create better work-life balance, at one of the most exciting and challenging times of your life, helping to retain staff when they are ready to come back to work.  

Prior to this change, eligible employees were able to take paid parental leave for one period of 18 weeks, which is 90 days payable.  

If your child is born on or after July 1st in 2020 you now have 2 periods of leave. The first set period is 12 weeks which needs to be used within 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child and can’t be split into more than 1 period. The second period is a flexible period. This allows the employee to negotiate with their employer when they take their next set of 30 days and how you split up your 30 days, however, this must be used before your child turns 2. 

You will be able to choose how and when you would like to get your paid parental leave pay from September 14th, 2020.  

It is important to remember there have been no changes to how many payable days the employee gets, there are only changes to the set periods the employee can choose to take them in. 

The changes allow for more flexibility for you as a parent. You can choose when you would like to take your second block of 30 days, meaning you can save them for a few months or use them straight away, making it suit your schedule/ life more.  

Here is an example that the Fair Work Ombudsman have put on their website.  

“Jane works 5 days a week. After she has a child, she uses her initial 12 set weeks of PLP. After the 12 weeks, Jane returns to work and enters into an agreement with her employer to work 3 days each week. Jane applies to use flexible PLP on the 2 days each week that she doesn’t work. Jane is then on flexible PLP for 15 weeks, a total of 30 days”. 

Below we will answer some of the common questions that regularly get asked. 

Are there any changes to the Payment of the parental leave pay scheme? 

There are no changes to how the parental leave will be paid. The PLP payments are made to the employer from services Australia, who then pays the employee.  

Has the Dad and Partner Pay changed?  

No, the updates have not affected the Dad and Partner Pay. This pay is still for working Dads and partners including those parents who have adopted a child. They can get up to 2 weeks’ pay at the Australian minimum wage in a lump sum payment. It is important to remember to be eligible for this 2-week payment they must be on unpaid leave and not working during this time.  

How do I apply for paid parental leave?  

There are two key steps that you must take. Firstly you must Inform your manager and register for the scheme.  It is the employee’s responsibility to register for the paid parental leave scheme through the Department of Human Services. If you have a leave policy have a look there.  

Make sure you speak to your employer at least 10 weeks before the birth of your child or expected date of your adoption, this will give your employer time to prepare all the documentation and organize a cover for your position for the time that you are on leave. Inform them that you would like to claim parental leave pay and negotiate your leave.   

Can I get Job keeper and Paid Parental Leave at the same time?  

You cannot get income from Job keeper and paid parental leave at the same time. You will be eligible to receive your paid parental leave after the income from your Job keeper payments end. If you are not getting Job keeper then you will continue to receive your agreed paid parental leave.  

For more information and to check the eligibility requirements for the paid parental leave pay scheme head to  

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/ or https://www.fairwork.gov.au/ 

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