2023 Changes to Parental Leave
From 1 July 2023, the rules for government-funded parental leave are changing to provide greater flexibility for parents to share caring responsibilities.
In March 2023, the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender Equality) Bill 2022 (Cth) passed both Houses of Parliament, with changes to paid parental leave entitlements kicking in from 1 July 2023.
WHAT WILL CHANGE?
The federal government’s paid parental leave scheme will now have increased flexibility, with partnered couples with babies born or placed in their care after 1 July 2023 able to share caring responsibilities more easily between them. Paid Parental Leave is paid at the national minimum wage rate.
- The existing maximum 90 days (18 weeks) Parental Leave Pay (PPL) will be combined with the two weeks’ Dad and Partner Pay to provide a single 100-day (20-week) PPL scheme, to be shared between each parent. Note: to be eligible, employees must earn less than $156,647 per annum.
- Parents will be able to receive a maximum of 18 weeks’ parental leave pay each, and a maximum of 20 weeks’ parental leave pay between them. For example, one parent could take 18 weeks paid leave and one two weeks; or both parents could receive 10 weeks of paid parental leave.
- The means test for eligibility will be amended by introducing a $350,000 per annum family income test (indexed annually from 1 July 2024) under which claimants can qualify for parental leave pay if they do not meet the individual income test.
- Eligible employees who are single at the time they claim will be eligible for 20 weeks paid parental leave.
- The whole payment will be made flexible so that eligible employees can claim it in multiple blocks until the child turns two.
- The requirement to return to work to be eligible for the entitlement has been removed.
Services Australia – Paid Parental Leave for Employers
Services Australia – Paid Parental Leave Employer Toolkit
Fair Work Ombudsman – Parental Leave
Employers can use this guide policy template as a base for their own parental leave policy. It covers leave entitlements, including unpaid parental leave, government-funded paid parental leave and employer-funded paid parental leave.
Parental leave is much more than a short-term leave entitlement for working mothers. Good parental leave policies are applicable to all, helping create an equitable workplace that allows everyone to lead a balanced life, with time for families, and time to commit to projects, practice life and career. This article outlines the benefits and challenges of good parental leave policies, and some recommended strategies to implement before, during and after leave.
A good Parental Leave Policy is essential to creating a workplace culture and policy environment that supports parents at all stages. This helps ensure that raising a family doesn’t derail or devalue the career of a talented and valued individual, while also enabling the practice to accrue long-term benefits from investing in staff training and development. This article offers an approach to developing and implementing a parental leave policy.