Australia's federal government recently introduced the
Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2015. If approved, the new
law will amend the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 to
redefine the parameters of paid parental leave entitlements.
Presently, under Australian law, certain working parents are
entitled to receive paid parental leave from the federal government
to care for a newborn or recently adopted child. Specifically,
eligible working mothers are entitled to receive up to 18
weeks' paid leave at the national minimum wage.1 In
addition, employers may provide for additional paid parental leave
benefits, such as maternity leave pay, by way of their registered
agreements, employment contracts and/or pursuant to workplace
Because some employees may be able to receive paid parental
leave from both the employer and the federal government at the same
time, the Australian federal government has expressed the view that
there are some employees who are essentially
"double-dipping." The proposed changes, therefore, would
prevent those employees from receiving the government parental
The proposed changes would also enable employees who receive
employer-provided paid parental leave benefits that are less than
the maximum entitlement under the government program to receive a
"top up" from the government.
The proposed amendments further provide that employers would no
longer be required to administer the government-funded component of
paid parental leave entitlements for employees, unless the employer
elects to do so,2 lessening employer administrative and
record-keeping obligations with respect to employee parental
If enacted, the changes to the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010
would take effect on July 1, 2016. Littler will provide further
updates on this issue as information is released regarding the
proposed legislative amendments.
1. The Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 also provides for an
entitlement of two weeks of paid leave at the national minimum wage
for fathers and partners caring for newborns or recently adopted
2. This move to remove the employer's administrative
role was also introduced in the Paid Parental Leave Amendment Bill
2014, which is currently before the Senate.
3. Employers of employees who receive government-funded
parental leave must keep the following records: (1) the amount of
parental leave pay funding received from the government for each
employee and the period it covers; (2) the date each parental leave
payment was made to the employee; (3) the period each payment
covers; (4) the gross amount of the payment; (5) the net amount
paid and the amount of taxes withheld; (6) a statement identifying
the payment as parental leave; and (7) the amount of deductions
made from each payment.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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