Recently the Liberal Government reintroduced an amended Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2016 into Parliament. It has been referred to as the “anti-double-dipping bill” as it brings about a range of amendments to ensure primary carers cannot claim more than 18 weeks’ pay if accessing some form of government entitlement.
With a proposed start date of 1 January 2017, employers may need to act quickly to assess whether their parental leave schemes will be impacted and review their policies to reflect the amendments. If the Bill passes, this will mean that:
· enterprise agreement negotiations involving top-up pay for primary carers will need to be re-visited
· employers’ paymaster role will be removed in favour of an opt-in approach
· attempts to avoid the scheme, e.g. by taking employer benefits at half pay, will not be permitted
· the right to 12 months’ unpaid leave under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) remains unchanged, and
· although bonuses for primary carer parental leave are captured, it appears return-to-work bonuses will continue to be excluded from the scheme.
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