Monday, July 26, 2010

Managing parental leave

Lisa Galbraith, CEO

The recent changes to paid parental arrangements are a very important development for working parents. Working for a large multinational, in Australia, meant I experienced the joy of paid parental leave and it has been frustrating to see the slow progress on this issue in Australia.

The new laws don’t come into effect until January 2011 so you still have time to brush on the rules and put your plans in place. From my own experience the parental leave process is much easier to manage if you have planned ahead and thought through the key issues. For example as an employer you will need to think about whether you will top up the payment to your employees actual salary? You need to review your existing policies and procedures and determine what change you need to make to reflect the new rules. You may want to alter your approach to reflect your experiences of the previously introduced parental leave requirements.

But before you can start thinking through all the issues you need to understand the basic rules.

How does it work?

The primary care giver to the new born child or adopted child under 16 is eligible if:

- They have worked continuously for at least 10 of the previous 13 months and for at least 330 hours during that time, and

- Their income is less than $150,000 pa

The person wanting to take parental leave must apply to the Family Assistance office for it. They need to do this at least 3 months before the due date and 12 months after the due date.

The total period of paid leave available is capped at 18 weeks and paid by the Federal Government. Usually the administration of the pay will handled by the employer and the Family Assistance office will work with the employer to make the payments. Although in some circumstances the Family Assistance office will make payments directly.

Seems fairly straight forward to me and I would be interested to hear how your workplace is planning for the changes. The Fair Work website provides some useful information – and the Cleardocs HR policies and procedures manual also provides a structure for employers to follow.

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