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Dad and partner pay

21 March 2013

The Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave Scheme has been extended to incorporate "Dad and Partner Pay".

Following amendments to the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth) Dad and Partner Pay is now available to eligible working dads and partners (including adopting parents and same-sex partners) who care for a child born or adopted from 1 January 2013. 

Dad and Partner Pay entitlements

Under the scheme eligible dads and partners may receive up to two weeks of government-funded pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage which is currently $606.50 per week before taxation.  To be eligible dads or partners must:

  • be caring for a child born or adopted from 1 January 2013, although it is not expected that the dad or partner will be the sole carer for the child
  • be an Australian resident
  • have worked for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the start date of their "Dad and Partner Pay" period
  • meet the work test, which requires the dad or partner to have worked for at least 330 hours in that 10 month period with no more than an eight week gap between two consecutive working days
  • have an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the previous financial year
  • not be receiving paid leave and not working during the Dad and Partner Pay period.

"Dad and Partner Pay" must be taken within the first 12 months after a child's birth or adoption.  The pay period may start on the day the child is born or adopted or it may start later.

Considerations for employers

Employers do not administer the scheme.  The scheme will be administered by the government.  Employees must apply for "Dad and Partner Pay" through the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and payments will be made directly to the employee. 

However employers should expect to be approached by employees who will be seeking unpaid leave to spend time caring for their child under the existing unpaid parental leave scheme or the Dad and Partner Pay scheme or both.

Employers must carefully consider their obligations in response to a request for unpaid leave.

The National Employment Standards (NES) under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act) establish minimum entitlements to unpaid parental leave for employees who have completed at least 12 months of continuous service with their employer.  A dad or partner may be entitled to unpaid parental leave following the birth or placement of a child.

The Fair Work Act sets out the notice and evidence requirements that must be met by an employee when applying for unpaid parental leave.

An employer cannot lawfully refuse to grant unpaid parental leave to a dad or partner who is entitled to it and who has complied with the notice and evidence requirements.

If an employee has not completed 12 months of continuous service when requesting unpaid leave to spend time caring for their child under the Dad and Partner Pay scheme an employer may exercise discretion when deciding whether to agree to the request.  This will require careful consideration of the employer's business requirements including:

  • the effect on the workplace and the employer's business of approving the request, including the financial impact of doing so and the impact on efficiency, productivity and customer service
  • the ability to organise work among existing staff
  • the ability to recruit a replacement employee or the practicality of the arrangements that may need to be put in place to accommodate the employee's request.

An employer must not unlawfully discriminate against an employee or take other adverse action on the basis of an employee's parental responsibilities. 

For an employer, finding the right balance between entitlements, obligations, responsibilities and business needs may require careful communication and planning.

For more information contact:

Tracey Jessie | Partner
Mullins Lawyers
t +61 7 3224 0390
f +61 7 3224 0333
tjessie@mullinslaw.com.au

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