Draft paid parental leave legislation released

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25 / May / 2010

The government has released its draft Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010.

The proposed paid parental leave scheme will provide up to 18 weeks of government-funded parental leave pay at the national minimum wage (currently $543.78 per week). The scheme will provide for this leave to be taken in addition to any existing employer-funded entitlements, either at the same time or consecutively. The scheme will be available to parents of children born or adopted from 1 January 2011, who satisfy work, income and residency tests.

To be eligible for the payment, the primary carer must have:

been engaged in work for a total of at least 10 of the 13 months preceding the expected birth or adoption of the child, with a break of no more than eight weeks between any two consecutive work days, and

undertaken at least 330 hours of paid work during the 10-month period (an average of one day a week). An employee’s income must not exceed $150,000 (indexed in line with the baby bonus).

The role of employers in providing government-funded parental leave pay will be phased in over the first six months of the new scheme — from 1 January to 1 July 2011. From 1 January 2011 employers can elect to provide eligible employees with parental leave pay. Employers must pay parental leave pay to their employees from 1 July 2011. The draft Paid Parental Leave Bill is currently with the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, which will inquire and report back by 3 June 2010.

The exposure draft of the Paid Parental Leave Scheme Bill 2010 is available on the FaHCSIA website.

Ref: The Hon Jenny Macklin MP FaHCSIA media release, “Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme — fair for families and fair to business”, 4 May 2010.