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Changes to paid parental leave provide greater flexibility

Employment & Workplace Advisory
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In this client update, the Workplace Advisory team provides a summary of key changes to the Government paid parental leave scheme and how these may affect your business.

Yesterday, changes to the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth) (Act) providing for greater flexibility to employees under the paid parental leave scheme received Royal Assent. The changes will come into effect on 1 July 2020.

Current scheme

Under the existing paid parental leave scheme, eligible parents are entitled to paid parental leave pay in a single continuous block of up to 18 weeks. This entitlement must be claimed within 12 months of the birth or adoption of the child and is provided by the Commonwealth government (ie in addition to any benefit provided under any internal parental leave policy).  

Summary of changes  

From 1 July 2020, paid parental leave will be split into two phases, as follows:

  • First, an initial 12 week paid parental leave period that (as per the old rules) must be taken in a single continuous block in the first 12 months.
  • Second, a new flexible period consisting of 30 parental leave days that can be taken at any time after the initial 12 week period, and within two years of the birth or adoption of the child.

Additionally, if the primary carer consents, the flexible parental leave days can be transferred from the primary carer to a secondary carer (to the extent that there are days remaining in the primary carer’s flexible parental leave entitlement).  

Effect of changes

The changes to the paid parental leave scheme are aimed at providing greater flexibility to employees who wish to return to work on a part-time basis, supporting a gradual return to work and sharing parental responsibilities.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions in relation to the above and/or your obligations under the paid parental leave scheme.

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