Government Funded Paid Parental Leave Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for the Paid Parental Leave scheme?
Parental leave pay is available to all eligible employees (eg. permanent, casual workers, contractors and self-employed people). Eligible employees:
- Are the primary carer of a newborn child or recently adopted child on or after 1 January 2011;
- Are an Australian resident;
- Have met the Paid Parental Leave scheme work test before the birth or adoption occurs (determined by the Family Assistance Office);
- Have received an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the previous financial year; and
- Are on leave or not working from the time they become the child’s primary carer.
How much do I get paid if I am eligible for the Paid Parental Leave scheme?
Parental leave pay is a taxable payment, generally paid in arrears, at the level of the national minimum wage for a maximum period of 18 weeks.
Who pays Parental Leave Pay?
Parental leave pay is funded by the Australian Government out of consolidated revenue. After 1 July 2011, the Australian Government will make payment to the University through the Centrelink Business Centre. The University will then make the payments to employees via normal payroll contributions for the amount provided by the Centrelink Business Centre.
How does Parental Leave Pay affect my other entitlements?
Superannuation guarantee payments will not be paid on parental leave pay. Employees are able to salary sacrifice parental leave pay, but only after 1 July 2011.
Parental leave pay also has an impact on social security, family assistance and veterans’ payments and other entitlements.
It is recommended that employees receive financial advice regarding the Paid Parental Leave scheme.
What is the Family Assistance Offices role?
The Family Assistance Office (FAO) receives and determines claims for parental leave pay.
The FAO offers a range of first-point-of-contact services, which include:
- answering eligibility enquiries
- providing information about payment delivery
- providing printed information and claim forms
- receiving forms lodged for the PPL scheme and other FAO related payments such as FTB and advice of changes of circumstances
- making appointments with other FAO staff for complex enquiries and interviews, and
- discussing 'what if' scenarios for different payment options.
FAO call centre
A FAO call centre is also available to assist families with PPL scheme and family assistance enquiries over the telephone on 13 61 50. The call centre operates from 8.00am to 8.00pm local time.
FAO internet site
The FAO has its own internet site: http://www.familyassist.gov.au
What is my role as the employee?
The onus is the employee to claim the government funded paid parental leave. This is done directly between the employee and the FAO.
Information on when the Parental Leave is payable to an employee and the claims, payability and eligibility determinations are all provided by the FOA.
It is the employee's role to notify the FAO of the return to work date, ensuring all instalments cease at the point of return to work.
What is the University's role?
It is the University’s role to pay instalments to eligible USQ employees. The FAO will advise USQ of the monies payable to those eligible employees after they have made the determination for eligibility. These payments will be made to employees on a fortnightly basis though the use of the normal payroll system.
Employees should be aware that they are not able to undertake any work at all whilst receiving the government funded Paid Parental Leave. If work is done outside of the “Keeping in Touch Days” the University will notify the Family Assistance Office of the employee's return to work.
How do the ‘Keep in Touch Days’ work?
Keeping in Touch Days can be directly negotiated with the employee and their manager/supervisor. The purpose of the days is to enable the person to keep in touch with their employment or engagement in order to facilitate a return to work. Activities such as training days, planning days and conferences would meet this requirement.
Both the employee and the manager/supervisor must have consented to the employee attending Keep in Touch days at work. The days are not compulsory and must not be within 14 days after the day the child was born or the date of placement of an adopted child, or the day a person became a child's primary carer in exceptional circumstances.
Employees who utilise their “Keeping in Touch Days” will be paid at their substantive rate and will accrue leave entitlements for the days worked. Those employees on fractional rates will only be required to work their fractional hours.
Can I still work for the University while receiving the Paid Parental Leave Scheme?
No. If an employee performs any work for the University outside of the ‘Keep in Touch’ days provided by the Paid Parental Leave Scheme, the University will notify the FAO and the instalments will cease.
What forms does the University require me to complete to notify them of the dates I am planning on taking the Paid Parental Leave?
Please contact your Client Services team so they can talk to you through the process.
For further information on the Government Funded Scheme you can visit the Family Assistance Office website. Any information related to USQ procedures can be found in the Leave of Absence Policy and procedure.