Paid parental leave legislation to be amended

Analysis

Paid parental leave legislation to be amended

The Paid Parental Leave and Other Legislation Amendment (Consolidation) Bill 2011 is currently before Federal Parliament – aiming to extend the period of time in which an employer-requested keeping in touch day cannot occur, from the current 14 days, to 42 days from the birth of the child, plus makes other non-controversial changes.

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The Paid Parental Leave and Other Legislation Amendment (Consolidation) Bill 2011 is currently before Federal Parliament — aiming to extend the period of time in which an employer–requested keeping-in-touch day cannot occur, from the current 14 days, to 42 days from the birth of the child, plus makes other non-controversial changes.

Amendments to the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (PPL Act) will refine the provisions that permit keeping-in-touch days and clarify the operation of a number of provisions, including debt recovery provisions, notice provisions, and the provision relating to delegation of the secretary’s powers under the Act.

The amendments in the Bill are minor and uncontroversial.

The Bill amends the Fair Work Act 2009 to extend to employees on unpaid parental leave under the National Employment Standards access to 10 paid keeping-in-touch days.

Employees who take additional unpaid parental leave (for a second 12 months) may also access 10 additional keeping-in-touch days.

Employees and employers may agree to unpaid parental leave commencing earlier than six weeks prior to the expected date of birth, and parents will gain the right to return to their employment in the event of a stillbirth or infant death.

Background
 
Background to the Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme can be found in the Parliamentary Library’s Bills Digest prepared for the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010.

The statutory PPL scheme commenced from January 2011. According to the annual report of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, 42,975 parents received parental leave pay in 2010–11 at a cost of $604m.

Commencement
 
The amending legislation will commence the day after Royal Assent, except for Part 1 of Schedule 1 (commencement of the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 on 1 October 2010), and Sections 1 to 3 (on Royal Assent).

The links to the Bill, its Explanatory Memorandum and second reading speech can be found on the Bill’s home page.
 
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