As per the Paid Parental Leave Scheme in Australia, eligible working parents are entitled to get government-funded pay when they take leave from work in order to take care of their newborn or a recently adopted child born on or after 01 January 2011. Eligible working parents include full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract and self-employed workers. From 01 October 2012 onward, claim for Father and Partner pay was introduced for babies born or adopted on or after 01 January 2013.

Parental Leave Scheme from 01 October 2012

Under the Paid Parental Leave and Other Legislation Amendment (Dad and Partner Pay and Other Measures) Act 2012 (The Act), the Federal Government’s paid parental leave scheme introduced a new payment called Dad and Partner Pay applicable to eligible fathers and partners. Eligible fathers and partners also include adopting parents and parents in same-sex couples caring for a child, born or adopted on or after 01 January 2013. According to this legislation eligible fathers and partners will be able to receive two weeks’ dad and partner pay at the rate of national minimum wage during the first 12 months after a child is born or adopted. The primary aim of this payment is to provide financial assistance to fathers and partners so that they can take more time off from their work to support new mothers and primary carers in their caring role.

Persons Eligible to Claim for Dad and Partner Pay

Persons eligible to make a claim for dad and partner pay must be:

The biological father of a child;

The partner of the child’s birth mother (including same-sex partner);

An adoptive parent of the child; and

A person who satisfies circumstances prescribed by the Paid Parental Leave Rules 2010.

Birth mothers are not eligible to claim dad and partner pay.

Eligibility Tests to Claim For Dad And Partners Pay

In order to be entitled to dad and partner pay, an eligible person is required to meet certain tests such as:

Resident test: the person must be an Australian citizen.

Work test: the person should have worked for:

At least continuous 10 months out of the 13 months before commencement of his Dad and Partner Pay period; and

At least 330 hours in that 10 months period, with no more than an eight week gap between two consecutive working days.

Income test: the person must have an adjusted taxable income of $150 000 or less in the financial year either prior to the date of his claim or the date of commencement of his dad and partner paywhichever is earlier.

The person must not be working during the period he receives the payment.

The person must be providing care to a child, born or adopted, on or after 01 January 2013.

Lodging a Claim

A claimant may lodge a claim with the Family Assistance Office for a period upto three months prior to the expected date of birth or adoption or within 12 months following the birth or adoption of a child from 01 January 2013. The claimant should nominate his start date for dad and partner pay.

Amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009

The Act also made certain amendments to the provisions Fair Work Act 2009 with regard to parental leave. These changes can be summarisedas follows:

A pregnant employee, in agreement with her employer, can commence unpaid parental leave for more than six weeks before the expected date of birth.

The time period in which an employer requested ‘keeping in touch day’ cannot occur has been extended from 14 to 42 days from the child’s birth.

Where a pregnant employee experiences a still birth or infant death after the commencement of parental leave, the employee is entitled to return to work upon providing the employer with four weeks written notice. Alternatively, the employer must give six weeks’ notice if they require the employee to return to work.

Where an employer engages a replacement employee to perform the work of an employee on parental leave, the replacement employee must be notified that their engagement is temporary and may be brought to an end before the planned end date in certain circumstances.

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