Who pays for Paid Parental Leave?
Paid parental leave is funded by the Federal Government.
However, for many employees, it will be paid by their employer who,
in turn, receives funding for the payments directly from the
From 1 July 2011, the employer must provide the parental leave
pay to employees who:
- have worked for the employer for at least 12 months before the
birth or adoption of the child
- are Australian-based employees, and
- are entitled to at least eight weeks of paid leave.
In other cases, the Family Assistance Office (FAO) will continue
to provide the payment.
When does the entitlement cease?
On return to work
The entitlement to paid parental leave ceases once an employee
returns to work. A person returns to work if they perform one hour
or more hours of paid work on a single day. This means that if an
employee performs even a single hour of paid work, they cease to be
eligible. If they are already receiving payments at the time they
return to work, their entitlement to any remaining weeks' benefit
ceases from the time they perform the work.
However, employees are entitled to 10 'keeping in touch' days
while on leave. A keeping in touch day is a working day that allows
an employee to keep in touch with their place of work or that
facilitates their return to work after their leave. Training or
planning days and conferences are examples of 'keeping in touch'
activities. Ordinary work activities are not 'keeping in touch'
If you are relying on the National Employment Standards (NES)
entitlement to 12 months unpaid parental leave
An employee who returns to work for a 'keeping in touch day' may
lose their entitlement to 12 months' unpaid parental leave under
the National Employment Standards - and the protections that go
with it, such as the right to return to their substantive role.
This is because the NES requires unpaid parental leave to be taken
in a single continuous block. A 'keeping in touch day' may break
the single continuous block.
The Federal Government has announced plans to amend the NES to
allow employees to take 'keeping in touch days' without affecting
their NES entitlement. In the interim, employees should:
- ensure that if they plan to undertake ad hoc work it falls
within the definition of 'keeping in touch', and/or
- avoid any paid work if they are relying on the 12 month unpaid
parental leave provisions in the NES.
Employees should also be mindful that full-time child care may
impact on their entitlement. The claimant must remain the child's
primary carer. Care of the child cannot be allocated to another
person or organisation for more than a reasonable period. The
consideration of what is reasonable includes respite for the
primary carer. However, a person is likely to cease being the
primary carer if the child is in child care for a substantial
amount of time. If they cease to be eligible, their entitlement to
payments also ceases.
Where can I get more information?
If you are a member of a union they may be able to assist you
with more detailed information.
Information about the scheme is available on the government
If you are experiencing employment difficulties arising from
your parental leave, our Maurice Blackburn's employment lawyers can
provide advice. Call us on 1800 810 856 or send us a message
via the 'contact us' section.