This week, Parliament has passed amendments to the Paid
Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth), which had come into effect on 1
January 2011. The amendments are relevant for fathers and same-sex
partners who, under the amendments, can now claim two weeks of paid
paternity leave. The new payment will be implemented from 1 January
In addition, the amendments allow employees to perform paid work
during a period of unpaid parental leave.
Dad and partner pay
The Paid Parental Leave and Other Legislation Amendment (Dad
and Partner Pay and Other Measures) Bill 2012 (Bill) extends
the Federal Government's paid parental leave scheme by
introducing a new payment, called 'dad and partner pay',
for eligible working fathers and partners.
Under the amendments, dad and partner pay will be available to
eligible fathers and partners (including same-sex couples) who are
caring for a child born or adopted from 1 January 2013. Eligible
fathers and partners will be able to receive two weeks of dad and
partner pay at the rate of the national minimum wage, which is the
same weekly rate as for the existing parental leave pay (which will
be $606.40 per week from 1 July 2012).
Dad and partner pay will be available during the first 12 months
after the birth or adoption of the child. Eligible fathers and
partners must be caring for the child (either through primary care
or joint care) and must not be on paid leave or at work during the
period that they receive dad and partner pay. In addition, the
father or partner must satisfy the required eligibility rules,
The work test (calculated in accordance with the Bill)
The income test (the person's adjusted taxable income must
be less than $150,000 annually, which is indexed)
The Australian residency test.
The Bill also amends the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to
introduce the concept of a 'keeping in touch day', which
enables employees who are on unpaid parental leave to perform
permissible paid work for short periods in order to assist with the
employee's return to work.
Keeping in touch days are capped at 10 days and require both
employee and employer consent. The day must not be within 14 days
of the date of birth, or day of placement, of the child. The
keeping in touch days do not extend the period of the
employee's unpaid parental leave.
The amendments also allow employees to take unpaid parental
leave early where there is a stillborn or infant death.
Implications for employers
Dad and partner pay will be available from 1 January 2013,
although employers will have no role in providing dad and partner
pay to their employees as it is paid directly by the Federal
Employers should consider the best way to use keeping in touch
days to reacquaint returning employees into the workplace,
including training on new systems or planning meetings.
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.