Last month the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 passed through the Senate with a number of amendments from the original draft legislation. We summarise the final outcome and what it means to you.
Family Tax Benefit:
From 1 May 2014 the Family Tax Benefit Part A will be paid to families only up to the end of the calendar year in which their teenager is completing school.
Pension Bonus Scheme:
The Pension Bonus Scheme was closed in 2009 but those eligible for the scheme at the time of its closure have still been able to backdate their registration. That opportunity will end from 1 July 2014.
From 1 July 2014 age pensioners will be required to have been Australian residents for 35 years during their working life (replacing the current 25 years) in order to receive the full means-tested pension if they choose to retire overseas or travel overseas for longer than 26 weeks.
Indexation of Benefits:
The bill will extend the indexation pauses on certain higher income limits until 30 June 2017. So, for example, the income limits for Family Tax Benefit Part B primary earner, parental leave pay and dad and partner pay will remain at $150,000.
Child Care Rebate indexation freeze not to go ahead
The bill originally proposed a 3-year freeze on the indexation of Child Care Rebates, but this was subsequently removed from the legislation.
Paid Parental Leave
Planned Paid Parental Leave amendments were ultimately removed from the bill. However, a separate bill (Paid Parental Leave Amendment Bill 2014) with introduced instead. The new bill proposes to remove the requirement for employers to provide government funded parental leave pay. From 1 July employees will be paid directly by the Department of Human Services, unless an employer opts in to provide parental leave pay.
Please call us if you are unsure about how these changes will impact you.