Paid Parental Leave Scheme gets the final tick09-02-2011
After many years of hard work and intense lobbying, the women of Australia have finally gained a government funded Paid Parental Leave Scheme (PPLS). This will see the majority of women in Australia receiving at the very least, 18 weeks of paid parental leave when they have a baby or adopt a child
This scheme provides 18 weeks of paid leave to mothers or primary carers of a child born or adopted after the 1st of January 2011, at the basic minimum wage of $570 per week before tax. For some women in Australia this will be their only entitlement to any form of paid parental leave. DECS and DFEEST employees will receive these 18 weeks of payments in addition to the 14 weeks of paid maternity leave already achieved for eligible DECS and DFEEST employees through enterprise bargaining. The scheme allows for the PPL to be taken before, after or concurrently with any other entitlements for paid maternity leave.
The scheme will be available to full-time, part-time, casual or contract workers and the self-employed who qualify under the schemes eligibility requirements.
Eligible employees will get payments via their employer. An income test of $150,000 will apply based on the primary carer's adjusted taxable income in the previous financial year.
To be eligible for the government scheme the primary carer must be in paid work and have:
been engaged in work continuously for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the expected birth or adoption of a childundertaken at least 330 hours paid work in the 10 month period (this equates to an average of around one day of paid work a week).
The scheme currently allows for a maximum "permissible break" in service of 8 weeks. Due to the Christmas holiday break and the likelihood of not gaining employment in the early weeks of Term 1, contract workers in education may be disadvantaged by the "permissible break" limit. Therefore, the AEU and ACTU will endeavour to have this maximum "permissible break" increased to 12 weeks at the review of the scheme in 2013.
What does the Bill not include?
- superannuation contributions on the parental leave payment
- paid secondary carers (or paternity) leave
- full wage replacement
- the right to return to work part-time from parental leave
Who is responsible for applying for the PPL?
The employee is entirely responsible for lodging an application for PPL with the Family Assistance Office (FAO). DECS and DFEEST are not required to do anything until they receive notification from the FAO regarding an employee's application. DECS and DFEEST will be required to provide any relevant information to the FAO. DECS and DFEEST have chosen to defer administering the PPL until the 1st of July 2011, until this time all PPL payments will be delivered by the FAO.
When submitting an application to the FAO, eligible parents are able to choose either the PPL or the baby bonus depending on their personal situation and needs. The AEU strongly suggests that members to seek financial advice regarding this decision from the FAO or your personal accountant or financial advisor.