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Government legislated paid parental scheme

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Australia’s universal paid parental leave scheme was legislated on Friday 17 June 2010.

Accordingly, from 1 January 2011, the scheme will provide an eligible parent with 18 weeks’ paid leave at the federal minimum wage rate, which is currently $569.90 per week.

To qualify as an eligible parent, the nominated parent must work at least 330 hours in 10 of the 13 months before the child’s birth or adoption, with a maximum of two months break during the 13 month period.  Furthermore, the nominated parent must have an adjusted taxable income of less than $150,000 in the previous financial year.  The scheme will cover employees, including casual workers, as well as contractors and the self employed.

Employers will be prohibited from using the scheme to offset existing paid parental leave benefits they are required to provide under any industrial instrument or other laws.  However, where an employer has provided a parental leave benefit through a workplace policy that is not part of an employment contract or industrial agreement, the employer has the ability to vary that policy.

MST has extensive experience in assisting its clients with complying with the most current workplace relations laws, including advice relating to paid parental leave obligations and benefits.  Please contact one of our lawyers in the Workplace Relations Team for further information.

Author:  Chao Ni