In the Business of Delivering Paid Parental Leave
Today is an important milestone in Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme that will help new parents stay connected with the workplace when they take time off to care for a baby.
Australian businesses are now required to provide Government-funded Paid Parental Leave to their eligible employees who have babies born on or after today.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin met with parents and their new-born babies in Melbourne today – many of whom will benefit from the Labor Government’s Paid Parental Leave initiative.
Since Paid Parental Leave began on 1 January this year, more than 69,000 parents have claimed the payment, including casual workers, part-time workers, the self employed and contractors.
Almost 31,000 new parents are currently receiving parental leave pay and almost 10,000 have finished receiving the payment.
Under the scheme, eligible parents receive up to 18 weeks Paid Parental Leave at the National Minimum Wage, currently around $590 per week, giving them the financial security to take time off work to spend with their newborn babies.
Paid Parental Leave helps employers retain skilled staff that they have invested time and money in training.
Many Australian businesses have already embraced the scheme.
More than 9,500 businesses have registered to make payments and many are already providing Government-funded Paid Parental Leave to their eligible employees.
The Government has made it straightforward for businesses – they get the money upfront from the Government and pay their employees through their usual pay cycle. There is no need for special bank accounts or special reports.
A recent Centrelink poll of a sample of employers providing Government-funded Paid Parental Leave found that 83 per cent of employers thought the registration process was easy, simple or quick.
The same number described their experience of providing Paid Parental Leave to their employees as being ‘business as usual’.
In addition, 96 per cent of employers surveyed believed that Paid Parental Leave would benefit their employees.
The Productivity Commission recommended the employer role in the scheme because it would help business retain skilled staff.
In any year, around three per cent of small employers and nine per cent of all employers are expected to be involved in the Paid Parental leave scheme.
Employers only need to provide Government-funded Paid Parental Leave to employees who have been with them for at least 12 months.
Employers can get more information by calling 13 11 58 or downloading the employer toolkit from www.centrelink.gov.au
Parents can find out more by visiting the Family Assistance Office at www.familyassist.gov.au or calling 13 61 50.