The changes to parental leave affect both employers (e.g. time that can be taken as paid parental leave) and employees (e.g. the eligibility criteria).
What is the employee’s eligibility criteria?
Employees must meet the following eligibility criteria to receive the paid parental leave:
- Be caring for a child who is born or adopted from 1 July 2023
- Have met the income test which is $156,647 or less in the 2021-2022 and $168,865 or less in the 2022-2023 financial years Income Test.
- Not be working on your Parental Leave Pay days, except for allowable reasons.
- Have met the work test where both parents need to have worked for 10 of the 13 months prior for an average minimum of one day per week in that 10 month period Work Test.
- Meet the residency rules Residency Rules.
- Have registered or applied to register the child’s birth with employee’s state or territory birth registry, if they’re a newborn.
Additionally, there are claiming timeframes associated with the paid parental leave Claiming Timeframes.
What does an employee need to do?
Even though employees are entitled to take parental leave, notice needs to be given and evidence can be requested.
Employees need to provide you with written notice of intention to take parental leave at least 10 weeks in advance. This written notice must specify the intended parental leave period including the start and finish dates, which must be confirmed at least four weeks before the leave commences.
As an employer, you are also entitled to request supporting evidence confirming the expected date of birth or date of adoption placement – e.g. medical certificate or statutory declaration.
Where eligible, it is also possible for employees to take other kinds of paid leave at the same time as parental leave – e.g. annual leave and long service leave. This does not make the period of maternity or parental leave any longer. Employees cannot take personal, carer’s, compassionate or community service leave during the period in which they are on parental leave.
When it comes to extending the period of parental leave, employees need to comply with the following – e.g. if an employee wishes to ask for a further 12 months of parental leave, they must provide notice in writing of at least four weeks before the end of the first 12 months. As an employer, you need to respond in writing to their request within 21 days and are only entitled to refuse the request if there are reasonable business grounds for doing so.
The role of employers in the Paid Perental Leave Scheme
To get Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay, your employee must meet the work test. There are some exceptions to the work test if they stopped work due to certain circumstances. If this is the case, your employee may request evidence from you to confirm both that they would have continued working had it not been for their circumstances and the period they were unable to work.
Parental Leave Pay
It’s up to your employee to apply for Parental Leave Pay through Services Australia and work out leave arrangements with you.
Services Australia will contact you if you need to provide Parental Leave Pay to your employee and also provide the Paid Parental Leave funds to pay your employees.
As an employer, you must provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible employee who meets all of the following:
- Has a newborn or recently adopted child
- Has worked for you for at least 12 months before the expected date of birth or adoption
- Expects to get a block of at least 8 weeks of Parental Leave Pay within one year of the child’s birth or adoption
- Will be your employee until at least the last day of the block of Parental Leave Pay you’ll deliver
- Lives in Australia.
For employees with a child born from 1 July 2023, the block of at least 8 weeks must meet all of the following additional criteria:
- Be made up of consecutive weekdays, Monday to Friday with no breaks
- Not contain any weekends
- Be the first payment of Parental Leave Pay for this child.
Your employee may decide to get their Parental Leave Pay in multiple blocks. If they meet all of these conditions, Services Australia only ask you to deliver their first block of payments as Services Australia will deliver any subsequent blocks of payment to them directly.
If your employee doesn’t meet the above criteria, you don’t need to provide Parental Leave Pay. However, if you both agree, you can still provide it to an employee who’s eligible but doesn’t meet all these criteria. Register through the Services Australia Business Hub and choose to provide Parental Leave Pay. You must do this before your employee submits their claim.
If the block of Parental Leave Pay for your employee is in the past, we may pay them directly.
You don’t need to provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible employee who gets an income support payment from us.
Services Australia will provide Parental Leave Pay directly to eligible parents who don’t get it from their employer. There are things you need to do to accept Parental Leave Pay.
Dad and Partner Pay
From 1 July 2023, the Paid Parental Leave scheme is changing. Employees with a child born or adopted from that date will no longer get Dad and Partner Pay. We’ll add those days to Parental Leave Pay. Dads or partners can claim Parental Leave Pay. However, this is only available where both parents meet the Work Test.
There is an Employer Toolkit (HERE). However, if your employee is applying for parental leave, it is strongly suggested you seek professional advice to ensure you meet your obligations due to the many changes in the paid parental leave scheme.
Akyra’s Key Takeaways
Eligibility Criteria for Employees:
- To receive paid parental leave, employees must meet several eligibility criteria, including having a child born or adopted from 1 July 2023, meeting an income test, not working on Parental Leave Pay days (except for allowable reasons), fulfilling a work test, and meeting residency rules.
- Additionally, they must register or apply to register their child’s birth with the state or territory birth registry if the child is a newborn.
Notice and Evidence Requirements:
- Employees are entitled to take parental leave, but they need to provide written notice of their intention to take parental leave at least 10 weeks in advance. This notice must specify the intended leave period, including start and finish dates, confirmed at least four weeks before the leave commences.
- Employers can request supporting evidence, such as a medical certificate or statutory declaration, to confirm the expected date of birth or adoption placement.
- It’s possible for employees to take other paid leave (e.g., annual leave, long service leave) simultaneously with parental leave but it does not extend the parental leave period.
- Personal, carer’s, compassionate, or community service leave cannot be taken during parental leave.
- Extending the parental leave period requires compliance with specific notice and response requirements.
Role of Employers in the Paid Parental Leave Scheme:
- Employers play a role in the Paid Parental Leave scheme, and it’s up to employees to apply for Parental Leave Pay through Services Australia and work out leave arrangements with their employers.
- Employers are required to provide Parental Leave Pay to eligible employees who meet certain criteria, including having a newborn or recently adopted child, working for at least 12 months before the expected date of birth or adoption, and expecting to receive at least 8 weeks of Parental Leave Pay within one year of the child’s birth or adoption.
- There are specific criteria for the duration and composition of the Parental Leave Pay block.
- Services Australia may contact employers to provide Parental Leave Pay, and employers need to register through the Services Australia Business Hub if they choose to provide Parental Leave Pay.
- If employees don’t meet the criteria, employers do not need to provide Parental Leave Pay, but they can do so if both parties agree.
Disclaimer – Reliance on Content
The material distributed is general information only. The information supplied is not intended to be legal or other professional advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. You should seek legal or professional advice in relation to your specific situation.