Eligible dads and partners in Australia now have access to paid leave from the Federal Government under amendments to the Paid Parental Leave Act 2012.

Dad and partners pay is a payment of up to two weeks pay from the Federal Government, calculated at the National Minimum Wage. It is available to eligible dads and partners (including partners in same sex relationships) who take leave to care for a baby or newly adopted child. The scheme commences for babies born or children adopted after 1 January 2013.

Eligibility criteria

In order for a dad or partner to be eligible to receive this paid leave, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The income test of a taxable income of $150,000 per annum or less must be satisfied;
  2. The applicant must have worked continuously for 10 of the last 13 months prior to the nominated start date of the leave and to have worked at least 330 hours during that time;
  3. The applicant must be an Australian resident;
  4. The leave to must be used to care for the child, whether as primary carer or jointly with the child’s mother; and
  5. The applicant must not be working or receiving any for of paid leave at the time of the payment.

While this development is a positive step in supporting the role of dads and partners to care for a new child, there are some unusual aspects of the new legislation. For example, employers are not responsible for determining whether an employee is eligible for parental leave payments or for the processing of payment. This will be completed by relevant Government agency, Centrelink.

Further (and curiously), for an employee to be eligible, they must not be taking paid leave (i.e. annual or paid parental leave provided by their employer) at the time the payment is received. Given the paid leave is at the National Minimum Wage, this will, in most circumstances, mean that an employee will receive less “pay” while on paid parental leave than they would if they were at work, or received paid leave from their employer. Employers should, therefore, be ready to receive requests for unpaid leave from dads and partners. If you currently have a paid parental leave policy, or are considering introducing one, consideration will need to be given to how this policy interacts with the new federal entitlements.

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