Wednesday, February 08, 2017, 2:30pm
Employers will no longer have a mandatory role as “paymasters” in the national paid parental leave scheme, while the maximum government payment will increase to 20 weeks, under legislation introduced into Federal Parliament today.
The Turnbull Government is seeking crossbench support in the Senate (see Related Article) for the revised paid parental leave scheme that is embedded in legislation that restructures income and family support.
The Bill’s changes to the paid parental leave regime are similar to those it has been attempting to pass over the past few years (see Related Articles), but this iteration extends the maximum parental pay from the current 18 weeks to 20 weeks.
Parents who are entitled to receive employer-provided paid parental leave of at least 20 weeks at the National Minimum Wage will not receive any parental leave pay under the government PPL scheme, based on the Government’s view that this constitutes “double-dipping”.
The government will pay the difference where employers’ paid leave schemes are less than 20 weeks.
The Bill’s explanatory memorandum argues the changes will make publicly-funded paid parental leave “more fairly targeted to ensure eligible working parents have access to a base level of financial support on the birth or adoption of their child.”
“Parents will no longer receive both employer-provided paid primary carer leave (such as maternity leave pay) and the full amount of parental leave pay under the Government-provided PPL scheme. “
Although the Bill ends the default paymaster role for employers, they will be able to continue passing on the Government payments if they obtain an employer determination.
This will only be made if the employer has elected to pay instalments, and the employee has agreed to it, using funds transferred from the Department of Human Services.
“To reflect the non-mandatory nature of this role, employers who do not respond to a notice of an employer determination will no longer be potentially subject to a compliance notice,” the memorandum says.
“Review of an employer determination is no longer required because the employer can simply decline the paymaster role.”
The Opposition says that about 70,000 mothers will still be worse off under the revised PPL scheme.