The Paid Parental Leave Amendment Bill 2014 (Bill) was introduced into Parliament on 19 March 2014.
The Bill seeks to amend the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth) to remove the requirement for employers to act as ‘paymasters’ in providing government-funded paid parental leave (PPL) to eligible employees. Eligible employees will instead be paid directly by the Department of Human Services (DHS) unless the employer voluntarily ‘opts in’ to manage parental leave payments and the employee agrees to this arrangement. In accordance with current arrangements, employers who opt in will continue to receive payments from the DHS to pass onto employees.
The Government claims that the proposed changes will save businesses and the not-for-profit sector up to $48 million per year by shifting the administrative costs from employers to the DHS.
The current PPL scheme provides benefits of up to 18 weeks’ pay at the federal minimum wage (currently, a total of $11,199.60 gross) for eligible employees. Please note that the Abbott Government’s proposed PPL scheme, which would have the entitlement increasing to six months’ PPL up to a maximum of $75,000, in Bill form awaiting Senate approval and is not yet in force.