Flexible working arrangement: when is it ok to say no?, we discussed a Fair Work Australia decision concerning a request made by a single working dad to his employer for a flexible working arrangement in order to provide care for his son.From 1 January 2013, eligible working dads and partners may also be entitled to receive Dad and Partner Pay.
This new payment will be available under the Federal Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme.
An eligible working dad or partner can receive up to two weeks of government-funded pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage (currently $606 per week before tax and indexed annually).
How will employers be affected?
- Employers will not play a direct role in providing Dad and Partner Pay, as the government (through Centrelink) will pay the employee.
- The employee will need to apply for Dad and Partner Pay themselves.
- It is still important for employers to be aware of Dad and Partner Pay because an employee may approach them about taking unpaid leave from their employment so that they can be eligible to receive Dad and Partner Pay.
- Employers should also consider whether their parental leave policies require amendment in light of the introduction of Dad and Partner Pay.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay, an employee must:
- be caring for a child born or adopted on or after 1 January 2013
- be the biological father of the child, the partner (including same sex partner) of the child’s birth mother, an adoptive parent of the child, or a person who otherwise satisfies the circumstances prescribed by the Paid Parental Leave Rules (presently, no further guidance is provided under those rules)
- have worked continuously for at least 295 of the 392 days (approximately, 10 out of 13 months) prior to the employee’s nominated start date for Dad and Partner Pay
- have worked at least 330 hours during the period of work referred to above – for a 10 month period, this is equivalent to around one day per week
- have earned no more than the Paid Parental Leave income limit (which is currently $150,000 per annum and subject to annual indexation from 1 July 2014) in the preceding financial year
- be an Australian resident or a special category visa holder residing in Australia
- take the leave during the first 12 months of the child’s life (or placement for adoption)
- use the leave to provide care for the child, whether as primary carer or jointly (for example, jointly with the child’s mother) – this means an employee is eligible to receive Dad and Partner Pay even where the employee will concurrently care for the child with a spouse on unpaid parental leave. In contrast, there is only a limited entitlement for couples to take concurrent unpaid parental leave under the National Employment Standards; and
- be on unpaid leave from work or not be working, at the time they receive the payment.
What do employers need to do?
Although not directly involved in providing the payment, employers should become familiar with the requirements of Dad and Partner Pay so that they can deal with employee enquiries quickly and with minimum fuss.
More information can be found at the Australian Government Department of Human Services website.