What does the Federal Government’s new flexible Paid Parental Leave scheme mean for me?

What does the Federal Government’s new flexible Paid Parental Leave scheme mean for me?

The Federal Government through the enactment of the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) Act 2020 (Cth) (the Amending Act) has sought to reduce some of the anxiety for new parents by removing the strict single block 18 weeks paid parental leave period under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act). Coming into effect on 1 July 2020, the Act seeks to establish a flexible block system for parents seeking to get back into the workplace incrementally.

Following the enactment of the Amending Act, section 11 and section 11D of the Act  highlight that eligible employees have two different modes of parental leave pay (PLP) available to them, namely:

(a) The first mode is an initial period of 12 weeks called the paid parental leave (PPL) period. The rules relating to this block will be the same as previously applied to the 18-week period. This means that this period of PPL will need to be taken consecutively, similar to the previous regime, only now the period is reduced in length;

(b) The second mode is the new “Flexible PPL”. This new system allows for eligible parents to claim PLP anytime during this Flexible PPL for a maximum of 30 days (six working weeks), usually after the initial twelve-week period mentioned above. 

As an employee, this leaves you with two options:

(a) An eligible parent may have both the 12 weeks PPL and the 30-day Flexible PPL periods run consecutively such that this option mirrors the previous regime of 18 consecutive weeks; or

(b) An eligible parent may elect after the 12 weeks consecutive PPL period to have a Flexible PPL period for a maximum of 30 days which enables the option of being able to work several times a week whilst also receiving PLP for days during the week that they have elected not to work.

Please note, under section 13 of the Act only one eligible parent can seek the to be the primary claimant of the full PPL amount. However, the total sum of the PPL may be divvied between a secondary and tertiary effective claimant. 

What about Dads and Partners? 

Under sections, 115AB – 115AC of the Act, fathers and partners (including the non-primary caregiver in same-sex relationships) who are not effective claimants for the PPL can seek to claim the “Dad and Partners Pay” provided by the Federal Government. 

Will this apply to me if my child was born before 1 July 2020?

Under section 19A inserted into the Act by section 77 of the Amending Act highlights that these changes will not apply to eligible employees whose children are born before 1 July 2020. If the child was born before this date, the eligible parent’s claim will be treated as a claim for PLP under the old regime.

If you have any questions regarding the new flexible PPL and what it could mean for your employment, please don’t hesitate to contact McDonald Murholme Barristers and Solicitors on (03) 9650 4555. 

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