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Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010

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2008-2009-2010

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE BILL 2010

 

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

Amendments, and request for amendment, to be moved

on behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the

Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Jenny Macklin MP)



PAID PARENTAL LEAVE BILL 2010

 

OUTLINE

 

Government amendments are made to the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010.  These amendments:

 

  • insert a new ‘Object of this Act’ clause to clarify the object of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 ;

 

  • clarify that an obligation of an employer to provide parental leave pay to a person under the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 is in addition to any other obligations that employer has in relation to the person, however they arise;

 

  • allow a birth mother to be eligible for parental leave pay where the Secretary is satisfied that she would have met the work test but for the premature birth of her child, or pregnancy-related complications or illness; and

 

  • provide for a review of the general operation of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 , starting by 31 January 2013.

 

Financial impact statement

 

The financial impact of these amendments is negligible. 

 

 



PAID PARENTAL LEAVE BILL 2010

 

 

Government amendments

 

 

These Government amendments address some issues that were raised during debate on the bill in the House of Representatives and the inquiry into the bill by the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee.  

 

 

NOTES ON AMENDMENTS

 

Amendment 1 inserts new Division 1A into the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010.  This new Division sets out in new clause 3A the object of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 .

 

New subclause 3A(1) provides that the object of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 is to provide financial support to primary carers (mainly birth mothers) of newborn and newly adopted children.  This additional financial support would allow carers to take time off work to care for their child after the child’s birth or adoption, enhance the health and development of birth mothers and children, encourage women to continue to participate in the workforce, and promote equality between men and women and the balance between work and family life.

 

New subclause 3A(2)  provides that, generally, the financial support provided by the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 is only for primary carers who have a regular connection to the workforce (through the application of the work test).

 

New subclause 3A(3) makes it clear that the financial support provided by the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 is intended to complement and supplement existing entitlements to paid or unpaid leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child. 

 

Amendments 2, 3, 4 and 5 modify the work test to address situations of premature birth or pregnancy-related complications or illness.

 

Clause 6 of the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010 is a Dictionary, which defines terms and concepts used in the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 Amendment 2 inserts a new definition into the Dictionary.  A child is born prematurely if, at the time of the child’s delivery, the child’s period of gestation is less than 37 weeks.  This term is used in new subclause 31(4A), inserted by amendment 5

 

In order to be eligible for parental leave pay, a claimant must generally meet the work test.  Amendments 3 and 4 are consequential amendments to clause 31 of the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010, which insert an alternative test (in new subclause 31(4A)) that a person may meet in order to be eligible.

 

Amendment 5 inserts a new subclause 31(4A) into the Paid Parental Leave Bill.  This provision applies to a birth mother whose child was born prematurely or who suffered complications or illness related to the pregnancy.  If such a mother does not satisfy the work test, she may still be eligible for parental leave pay if the Secretary is satisfied that she would have satisfied the work test but for the premature birth, or pregnancy-related complications or illness which prevented the person from performing paid work.

 

Amendment 6 inserts a new clause 99A into the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010. 

 

Clause 99A clarifies, to avoid any doubt, that an employer's obligation to pay a person parental leave pay under the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 is separate and additional to any other obligation the employer has in relation to the person.  This is relevant if, for example, an employee chooses to access an entitlement under a law or industrial instrument (which in this context would include a contract of employment) to paid leave (for example, paid parental leave, annual leave or long service leave) during the same period the employee is receiving instalments of parental leave pay from their employer.  If this occurs, clause 99A makes clear that the employer is obliged to pay the employee's full paid leave entitlement in addition to the instalments of parental leave pay.

 

Amendment 7 inserts a new clause 307A into the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010.  In broad terms, new clause 307A provides for the review of the operation of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010

 

New subclause 307A(1) requires the Minister to cause a comprehensive review of the general operation of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 to be begun by the end of January 2013. 

 

The review must consider the matters set out in new subclause 307A(2).   These are:

 

·          the amount of time off work that primary carers are taking to care for newborn or newly adopted children;

 

·          the availability and amount of leave and payments provided by employers in relation to the birth or adoption of a child, and the interaction of those entitlements with parental leave pay provided under the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 ;

 

·          the operation of the work test;

 

·          whether primary claimants’ partners should be paid parental leave pay separately from, or in addition to, primary claimants;

 

·          whether employers should make superannuation contributions in relation to parental leave pay;

 

·          the results of any evaluations conducted in relation to the operation of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 ;

 

·          the administration of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 ; and

 

·          any other matter relevant to the general operation of the new Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 .

 

Under subclause 307A(3), the Minister must ensure that the public is given the opportunity to make submissions in relation to the review.

 

Finally, subclause 307A(4) requires the Minister to cause a copy of a written report of the review to be tabled in each House of the Parliament.  This must be done within 15 sitting days of the day on which the Minister receives the report.