Draft paid parental leave legislation released

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.

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