Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit

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1 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit July

2 Table of contents Purpose of the toolkit 3 Section one What employers need to know about the Paid Parental Leave scheme 4 About the Paid Parental Leave scheme 5 The role of the Family Assistance Office and Centrelink 5 Definitions 5 Benefits of the Paid Parental Leave scheme 5 Which employees are eligible for Parental Leave Pay 6 What the Paid Parental Leave scheme means for employers 6 Self-employed parents 6 Stillbirth and infant death 7 Section two Employer s role in providing Parental Leave Pay to their employees 8 How does the employer role in the Paid Parental Leave scheme work? 9 Overview of the employer role in the Paid Parental Leave scheme 10 Employer responsibilities 10 How the Paid Parental Leave scheme complements existing workplace entitlements 11 Section three How to provide Parental Leave Pay to employees 13 Preparing for the Paid Parental Leave scheme 14 Pay slips 20 Payment summaries 21 Paid Parental Leave funds in business accounts 21 Superannuation 21 Payroll tax 21 Workers compensation premiums 21 Funding and pay cycles 22 How to read a Centrelink Payment Advice 22 Terms used in a Centrelink Payment Advice 24 Frequently asked questions about a Centrelink Payment Advice 25 Overpayments 26 Underpayments 27 Dispute resolution 27 Review and appeals for the Paid Parental Leave scheme 27 Section four Where do employers go for more information 29 Appendix A Centrelink Payment Advice formats 31 Sample report explanation 32 PDF output format overview 32 HTML output format overview 33 CSV output format overview 34 XML output format overview 38 Talking to employees about the Paid Parental Leave scheme 16 When an employee s Paid Parental Leave period can start 18 When providing Parental Leave Pay to an employee ceases 18 Paid Parental Leave funds 18 Deductions employers may need to make before providing Parental Leave Pay 20 2

3 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit Purpose of the toolkit The Employer Toolkit is a guide for employers who are providing Parental Leave Pay to their employees under the Paid Parental Leave scheme. The Employer Toolkit provides a brief overview of the Paid Parental Leave scheme, outlines employer responsibilities and provides detail about how Paid Parental Leave funds will be received by employers and Parental Leave Pay will be provided to employees. The Employer Toolkit is broken up into sections so employers can source the information in three stages according to the processes involved in providing Parental Leave Pay to eligible employees. Section one What employers need to know about the Paid Parental Leave scheme. Section two Employer s role in providing Parental Leave Pay to their employees. Section three How to provide Parental Leave Pay to employees. Section four Where do employers go for more information. 3

4 Section one: What employers need to know about the Paid Parental Leave scheme 4

5 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit About the Paid Parental Leave scheme The Paid Parental Leave scheme is a new entitlement for working parents of children born or adopted from 1 January Eligible working parents can get 18 weeks of government funded Parental Leave Pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage (currently $ a week before tax). Full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract and self-employed workers may be eligible. A business must have an Australian Business Number to participate in the Paid Parental Leave scheme. The role of the Family Assistance Office and Centrelink The Family Assistance Office assesses the eligibility of parents for the scheme. The Family Assistance Office provides Parental Leave Pay to eligible parents who don t receive the pay from their employer. The Family Assistance Office assists parents with information about the scheme and parent enquiries about the scheme. Centrelink will determine if an employer is required to provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible employee. Centrelink assists employers with all aspects of their role in the scheme by providing information products and online and telephone assistance. Centrelink provides Paid Parental Leave funds to employers in advance of the employer being required to provide Parental Leave Pay to their eligible employees. Paid Parental Leave funds Amounts provided to an employer through the scheme to enable the employer to provide Parental Leave Pay to an employee. The employer is under no obligation to provide Parental Leave Pay to the employee until these funds have been received. Paid Parental Leave period The period during which a person is entitled to receive Parental Leave Pay. The parent will nominate the start date of their Paid Parental Leave period. The Paid Parental Leave period can start from the date of birth or adoption, or a later date. Benefits of the Paid Parental Leave scheme The Paid Parental Leave scheme is designed to: provide financial support during the time parents take off work, in the vital early months, to care for their newborn or recently adopted child enhance child and maternal health and development encourage womens workforce participation, and promote gender equity and work/family balance. The Paid Parental Leave scheme will help employers: retain valuable and skilled staff by encouraging them to stay connected with the workforce when they become parents enhance existing family friendly workplace conditions without having to fund Parental Leave Pay themselves, and in the long-term through the increased workforce participation of parents. Definitions Paid Parental Leave scheme A new entitlement for working parents of children born or adopted from 1 January Eligible working parents can get 18 weeks of government funded Parental Leave Pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage (currently $ a week before tax). This pay is taxable. Parental Leave Pay Payment available to an eligible working parent under the Paid Parental Leave scheme. 5

6 Which employees are eligible for Parental Leave Pay The Family Assistance Office will assess whether employees are eligible for Parental Leave Pay. It is the employee s responsibility to lodge their claim and be assessed as eligible to receive Parental Leave Pay. Full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract and self-employed workers may be eligible. To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, an employee must: be the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child, usually the mother be an Australian resident have met the Paid Parental Leave work test before the birth or adoption occurs have received an individual adjusted taxable income of $ or less in the financial year prior to the date of birth, adoption or date of claim, whichever is earlier, and be on leave or not working from the time they become the child s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period. Their child must have been born or adopted from 1 January 2011 to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay. To meet the Paid Parental Leave work test an employee must have: worked for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of their child, and worked for at least 330 hours in that 10 month period (just over one day a week), with no more than an eight week gap between two consecutive working days. Important: employers do not have to work out if their employees are eligible for Parental Leave Pay. This is done by the Family Assistance Office and Centrelink will let the employer know if an employee is eligible for Parental Leave Pay. What the Paid Parental Leave scheme means for employers Employers must provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible employee who: has a child born or adopted from 1 July 2011 has worked for the employer for at least 12 months prior to the expected date of birth or adoption will be their employee for the Paid Parental Leave period is an Australian-based employee, and is expected to receive at least eight weeks of Parental Leave Pay. If an employee does not meet the above criteria, the employer is not required to provide Parental Leave Pay. However, if the employer and their employee both agree, employers can still choose to provide it to the employee. Employers need to register for Centrelink Business Online Services and then opt-in to provide Parental Leave Pay before the employee lodges a claim. Businesses must have an Australian Business Number to participate in the scheme. Centrelink will contact employers if they are required to provide Parental Leave Pay to an employee. The Family Assistance Office will provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible parent who does not receive it from their employer. Self-employed parents Self-employed parents who work for a family business (such as a farm) may be eligible for Parental Leave Pay if they meet the eligibility requirements, including the Paid Parental Leave work test. If parents work for a family business (such as a farm) they can include their hours of work even if the business is not generating any income, providing they are undertaking the work for financial gain or benefit. To receive Parental Leave Pay, a parent must be on leave or not working from the time they become their child s primary carer, until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period. If they return to work before that time their Parental Leave Pay will stop from that date. If they decide to return to work or their circumstances change before the end of their Paid Parental Leave period they will need to notify the Family Assistance Office on If a parent decides to return to work early, the unused part of their Parental Leave Pay may be transferred to their partner if the partner meets the eligibility criteria and claims the unused Parental Leave Pay. 6

7 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit Self-employed parents will be able to keep an eye on their business from the time they become their child s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period, without losing their entitlement to Parental Leave Pay. They will be able to oversee the business operations and perform the occasional administrative task. Types of activities that may be considered as overseeing their business or performing an occasional administrative task may include: paying an account checking on the delivery of an order approving the business accounts dealing with ad hoc disputes organising a repair, or organising replacement staff to manage the parent s absence from work. Stillbirth and infant death In cases of stillbirth or infant death, Paid Parental Leave scheme arrangements will allow eligible employees to continue to receive their Parental Leave Pay. No specific rules will be imposed that may result in the recipients being financially worse off in these situations. In cases of stillbirth or infant death, the employee may ask the Family Assistance Office to provide their Parental Leave Pay directly. If this occurs and the employer has been previously advised that they would provide the Parental Leave Pay, Centrelink will advise the employer of the change in arrangements. If an employee chooses to return to work before the end of their Paid Parental Leave period, they will not lose their entitlement to Parental Leave Pay. Self-employed parents will be regarded as having returned to work if they perform their usual pre-birth or pre-adoption duties at any time from the time they become their child s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period, even at reduced hours or a reduced level. Important: self-employed parents will receive their Parental Leave Pay from the Family Assistance Office in fortnightly instalments. 7

8 Section two: Employer s role in providing Parental Leave Pay to their employees 8

9 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit How does the employer role in the Paid Parental Leave scheme work Employee discusses their leave intentions with their employer Employee lodges their claim for Parental Leave Pay with the Family Assistance Office The Family Assistance Office decides if the employee is eligible for Parental Leave Pay Centrelink decides if the employer is required to provide Parental Leave Pay and will notify the employer of this decision. If the employer is not required to provide Parental Leave Pay to the employee, the Family Assistance Office will Employer accepts Centrelink s decision to provide Parental Leave Pay Employer can seek a review or appeal Centrelink s decision Employer registers for the scheme Employer confirms their details with Centrelink Centrelink provides employer with Paid Parental Leave funds in fortnightly or six-weekly instalments, along with payment advice Centrelink s decision is upheld and employer is to provide Parental Leave Pay Employer review is upheld and the Family Assistance Office is to provide Parental Leave Pay Employer receives Paid Parental Leave funds The employer does not provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee Employer provides Parental Leave Pay to their employee in their usual pay cycle The employee and employer should try to resolve the issue If the matter cannot be resolved, Centrelink should be contacted to assist in resolving the dispute The dispute is resolved and the employer provides Parental Leave Pay to their employee If the dispute is not resolved the matter will be referred to the Fair Work Ombudsman to conduct an investigation in line with their usual processes 9

10 Overview of the employer role in the Paid Parental Leave scheme Employers play an important role in the Paid Parental Leave scheme. To prepare for their role in providing government funded Parental Leave Pay to their eligible employees, employers should follow these steps: 1. Employee discusses their leave intentions with their employer. 2. Employee lodges a claim with the Family Assistance Office, up to three months before the expected date of the birth or adoption. 3. The Family Assistance Office will decide if an employee is eligible. 4. Centrelink will then decide if the employer is required to provide Parental Leave Pay and will notify the employer of this decision. 5. Employer registers with Centrelink Business Online Services for the Paid Parental Leave scheme. 6. Employer opts-in to provide Parental Leave Pay to eligible employees. 7. The employer will then either accept the decision to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee or seek a review of the decision. 8. If the employer accepts the decision, they need to provide or confirm their details with Centrelink. 9. Paid Parental Leave funds will be provided to the employer before they are required to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee. Important: the Paid Parental Leave scheme has been designed to minimise the impact on employers. Employer responsibilities If an employee is eligible for Parental Leave Pay and Centrelink decides that the employer is required to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee, the employer needs to do one of the following within 14 days of the date of the notice advising of Centrelink s decision: the employer needs to accept the decision that they are to provide Parental Leave Pay, or seek a review if they do not accept Centrelink s decision. What employers need to do When an employer accepts the decision that they are required to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee, the employer must provide their bank account details and their employee s pay cycle and pay cut-off details to Centrelink. This will ensure employers can receive Paid Parental Leave funds on time. There are a number of other things employers are required to do: provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee for their Paid Parental Leave period provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee in accordance with the employee s normal pay cycle withhold tax from the Parental Leave Pay under the usual PAYG withholding arrangements provide the employee with a record of their Parental Leave Pay usually a pay slip within one working day of the employee receiving the pay include Parental Leave Pay in the total amounts on the employee s annual or part-year payment summary (statements produced and given to the employee for tax purposes) keep written financial records of Paid Parental Leave funds received from Centrelink and of the Parental Leave Pay provided to employees notify Centrelink: if and when their employee returns to work before or during their Paid Parental Leave period if and when their employee is no longer their employee, if this occurs before the end of the Paid Parental Leave period if they change their bank account details or their employee s pay cycle details, and if they receive an incorrect amount of Paid Parental Leave funds from Centrelink, or if they are unable to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee. return any unpaid Paid Parental Leave funds to Centrelink, and notify Centrelink, in advance if possible, if they are ceasing to trade, selling their business, transferring ownership or merging with another business. 10

11 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit What employers do not need to do Employers do not have to work out if their employee is eligible for Parental Leave Pay. This is done by the Family Assistance Office. It is the employee s responsibility to lodge their claim with the Family Assistance Office. Centrelink will notify an employer if they have an employee who is eligible for Parental Leave Pay, and if the employer is required to provide the pay. Employers do not have to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employees until they have received the funds from Centrelink. Employers will not have to provide Parental Leave Pay to short-term employees (those with less than 12 months service) unless they opt to do so, and their employee agrees. Employers will not have to provide Parental Leave Pay to independent contractors or a person who ceases to be their employee, for example, if an employee resigns before their Paid Parental Leave period finishes. Employers do not have to provide Parental Leave Pay to employees who are expecting to receive less than eight weeks of the pay, unless they opt to do so and their employee agrees. Employers will not be required to make superannuation contributions in respect of Parental Leave Pay. Employers will not be subject to additional workers compensation premium liabilities in respect of Parental Leave Pay. Employers will not be required to pay payroll tax in respect of Parental Leave Pay. Parental Leave Pay will not result in the accrual of any additional leave entitlements for employees. Employers will not be required to separately identify Parental Leave Pay in their annual financial statements. However, amounts of Parental Leave Pay need to be identifiable from other amounts that attract a superannuation guarantee, payroll tax or workers compensation premium liabilities. Employers do not need to create a new bank account for Paid Parental Leave funds. Employers will not be required to provide any regular reports to Centrelink in relation to the Paid Parental Leave scheme. How the Paid Parental Leave scheme complements existing workplace entitlements The Paid Parental Leave scheme is designed to complement existing workplace entitlements. The Paid Parental Leave scheme provides Parental Leave Pay but does not provide a new entitlement to leave. The scheme does not change an employee s existing leave entitlements. An employee s Parental Leave Pay is an addition to their employer provided leave entitlements. Employer provided paid leave Employees can take their Parental Leave Pay before, after or at the same time as any paid or unpaid maternity or parental leave, or other employer provided leave entitlements (such as annual leave or long service leave). Although there are no restrictions on when in the 52 weeks following the birth or adoption an employee can access Parental Leave Pay, some employer funded agreements may mandate when an employee must access employer funded leave. Employers who currently provide paid maternity or parental leave through an industrial agreement, cannot withdraw that entitlement for the life of the agreement. The government s Paid Parental Leave scheme cannot be absorbed into employer provided schemes. However, employers may wish to introduce new employer provided entitlements that complement the government s Paid Parental Leave scheme. For example, an employer funded scheme could be used to make up the difference between the amount of Parental Leave Pay and the employee s usual wage. Another option could involve the employer paying superannuation in respect of Parental Leave Pay. 11

12 Unpaid parental leave The existing minimum entitlement to 12 months unpaid parental leave for long-term employees, in the National Employment Standards under the Fair Work Act 2009, is unchanged. Long-term employees can also request an additional 12 months unpaid leave on top of this. A long-term employee is someone who has worked for a business for 12 months or more. The request can only be refused by their employer on reasonable business grounds. To be eligible for unpaid leave under the National Employment Standards, an employee needs to be: a permanent full-time or part-time employee who has completed 12 months of continuous service, or a long-term casual employee engaged on a regular basis for at least 12 months, who is likely to continue regular employment with their employer. Eligible employees taking unpaid parental leave under the National Employment Standards have a guaranteed right to return to the position they held prior to taking leave, or to a similar position. For more information about employment entitlements, workplace obligations or the Fair Work Act 2009, visit or call Right to request flexible working arrangements The National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009 provide for family friendly working conditions including a right for eligible employees to request flexible working arrangements, such as part-time work or flexible working hours, until their child reaches school age. Eligible employees of disabled children under 18 years can also request flexible working arrangements. Employers may only refuse the request on reasonable business grounds. Leave accrual and severance payments Parental Leave Pay will not result in the accrual of any additional leave entitlements for employees. If an employee is on a type of paid leave that does attract the accrual of additional leave entitlements (such as annual or long service leave), at the same time as they receive Parental Leave Pay, Parental Leave Pay will not affect the usual leave accrual rules that apply to the paid leave. Employers are not required to count the period during which their employee is entitled to receive Parental Leave Pay in the calculation of notice periods or severance payments. Although there is no requirement to do so, the Paid Parental Leave scheme does not prevent an employer from taking account of Parental Leave Pay in the calculation of notice periods for severance payments, and for additional leave accrual purposes. Protection against workplace discrimination It is unlawful for employers to take adverse action against an employee for reasons including family or carer responsibilities, pregnancy or their entitlement to unpaid parental leave. Examples of adverse action can include: preventing employees from taking unpaid parental leave refusing to keep an employee s job available for them when they return from unpaid parental leave or permanently replacing them while they are on unpaid parental leave, or demoting or damaging an employee s job when they return from parental leave. Eligible employees are permanent full-time, part-time and long-term casual employees who have completed 12 months continuous service. 12

13 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit Section three: How to provide Parental Leave Pay to employees 13

14 Preparing for the Paid Parental Leave scheme Register for Centrelink Business Online Services it will save time To provide Parental Leave Pay to any eligible employees, employers are required to register for the Paid Parental Leave scheme. Employers can do this through Centrelink Business Online Services. To make sure a business is ready to provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible employee, employers can pre-register for the scheme, or they can register when Centrelink contacts them. Employers can prepare for the Paid Parental Leave scheme by: registering for an AUSkey on the AUSkey website at registering with Centrelink Business Online Services. This will enable employers to receive letters and payment advices online from Centrelink to support their role in the Paid Parental Leave scheme. if an organisation manages the payroll for a number of different businesses, each business Australian Business Number will need to be registered with Centrelink Business Online Services, and opting in once they have registered with Centrelink Business Online Services, so that employers can provide Parental Leave Pay to their eligible employees who they are not required to pay. Employers will be contacted if they are required to provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible employee. Employers will be asked to provide their: business name Australian Business Number contact details business bank account details, and employee s pay cycle details. The easiest way to provide this information is online. Employers can register at any time for the Paid Parental Leave scheme through Centrelink Business Online Services at If an employer does not have access to the internet, they can provide their details and register for the scheme by calling the Centrelink Business Hotline on Registering for an AUSkey If an employer has an AUSkey or current Australian Taxation Office (ATO) digital certificate, they will be able to register with Centrelink Business Online Services immediately. If an employer does not hold an AUSkey or ATO digital certificate, they can still register for Centrelink Business Online Services but will not be able to add or update bank details or add new users online. If an employer chooses not to register for an AUSkey, they can contact the Centrelink Business Hotline on who will carry out these functions for them. AUSkey is a digital credential that will allow employers to access government online services, including services with Centrelink. Employers can still register for Centrelink Business Online Services without an AUSkey, but will be limited in the areas they can access. If an employer has an Australian Business Number, they can register for an AUSkey immediately. AUSkey offers a quick and easy registration process and an online management facility. In most cases, employers will be able to begin using their AUSkey almost immediately. AUSkey supersedes the ATO digital certificate, although an employer holding a current ATO digital certificate can use this to access Centrelink Business Online Services. When an existing ATO digital certificate expires, employers will need to register for an AUSkey. It is also important to note that the person who uses the AUSkey must be the AUSkey owner. For example if the AUSkey is registered in the name of one employee, they will be the only person able to use it. Once a business registers with Centrelink Business Online Services, the AUSkey owner can add different users to manage Paid Parental Leave on behalf of the business. AUSkey users are able to access a range of online services determined by the AUSkey owner, but they will not be able to update bank account details or add new users. This must be done by the AUSkey owner. For more information, refer to the ATO website at To ensure the business system is able to use an AUSkey, refer to the Australian Business Register Technical Support at To find out more about AUSkey, visit 14

15 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit Opting in As well as providing Parental Leave Pay to long-term employees, employers can choose to provide it to other employees including those who have not been employed by them for at least 12 months or who will receive less than eight weeks of Parental Leave Pay. The employer and their employee must agree for this to happen. When opting in, an employer can choose which eligible employees they are opting in to provide Parental Leave Pay. The employer can nominate one of the following groups: All employees mandatory employees and all full-time, part-time, permanent, casual, contract or seasonal employees, regardless of the length of time they have been employed by the employer. All employees with at least six months tenure includes mandatory employees and all employees who have been employed for at least six months, regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time, permanent, casual, contract or seasonal employees. All permanent employees mandatory employees and all employees who are employed on a permanent basis, regardless of the length of time they have been employed. All permanent employees with at least six months tenure mandatory employees and all employees who are employed on a permanent basis and who have been employed for at least six months. Mandatory employees only all employees who have been employed for more than 12 months, will be employed for the duration of their Paid Parental Leave period and who will receive eight weeks or more of Parental Leave Pay. The employer can nominate an opt-in date, and agree to provide Parental Leave Pay to their eligible employees who submit a claim from this date. Employers will not be able to provide Parental Leave Pay to any of their eligible employees who have submitted a claim before the employer s nominated opt-in date. Claims for the Paid Parental Leave scheme can be lodged up to three months in advance. For employers to provide Parental Leave Pay to their eligible employees they must opt-in prior to the employee s claim being lodged. For more information call the Centrelink Business Hotline on Manage Your Organisation Details There will be times when an employer needs to contact Centrelink to update their business details or provide Centrelink with further information. They can do this through Manage Your Organisation Details after they have logged on to Centrelink Business Online Services. Required Information: allows the employer to check if there is any outstanding information that they need to provide. Business Details: allows employers to provide or update general information about their business, for example trading details or physical or postal address. Contacts: allows employers to update contacts that have already been entered. Payment Destination Details: allows employers to record the various Payment Destinations for their employees. For example, a business may have some employees paid on a fortnightly pay cycle and other employees paid on a monthly pay cycle. The employer would set up two separate Payment Destinations for these two pay cycles. It can also be used to differentiate between shifts, for example day shift staff and night shift staff. Paid Parental Leave Scheme Settings: allows employers to opt-in to provide Parental Leave Pay to other eligible employees who they would not normally be required to pay. PDF Letter Subscription: Employers can choose to receive letters and reports through the Organisational Online Mail facility. Parental Assistance Support Services Parental Assistance Support Service is an application in Centrelink Business Online Services which allows employers to accept their role of providing Parental Leave Pay to their employee. It also allows employers to inform Centrelink of matters they are required to notify, such as if an employee has returned to work or has had their employment terminated. Parental Assistance Support Services can be accessed from the Paid Parental Leave Scheme Support Services menu in Centrelink Business Online Services. The New Claimants link will allow employers to accept their role of providing Parental Leave Pay to their employee, or to request a review of a decision made by Centrelink. 15

16 The Manage Employee link will enable employers to advise Centrelink of any change in circumstances in respect of an employee, such as: if their employee returns to work before the end of their Paid Parental Leave period, or if an employee is no longer one of their employees. Centrelink contact with employers From time to time Centrelink will contact an employer directly, either electronically or through their postal address in relation to the provision of Parental Leave Pay to their employees. Most of the correspondence employers receive will include information about: what they need to tell Centrelink, and how and when to contact Centrelink. For example, an employer will receive letters when: they register for the Paid Parental Leave scheme through Centrelink Business Online Services Centrelink has assessed an employee as eligible for Parental Leave Pay and the employer is to provide the pay when provision of Parental Leave Pay to one of their employees is to commence, and/or when the employer no longer has to provide Parental Leave Pay for their employee. Employers will also receive a Centrelink Payment Advice each time Centrelink sends Paid Parental Leave funds for one of their employees. Organisational Online Mail Once an employer has registered with Centrelink Business Online Services, they can access Organisational Online Mail when they log on. They will be able to view electronic letters and advices from Centrelink and also reduce paper-based mail sent to their postal address. When an employer subscribes to this service, s advising that mail is available will only be sent to their nominated address. They can view online letters for 91 days before they are archived. During that time the employer will be able to view, print, or save the letters to their local drive. To view them, the employer will need a PDF viewer. Talking to employees about the Paid Parental Leave scheme If an employer has an employee who is eligible for the Paid Parental Leave scheme, the employee should be encouraged to discuss their leave intentions with their employer. Start the conversation early It s a good idea to speak to employees as soon as possible about their intention to take leave. Conversations may include: what leave is available and how an employee may take it in conjunction with Parental Leave Pay when the employee would like to start their leave and when they expect to return to work how they expect to manage their return to work, and what their post-leave role might involve. It s important both the employer and employee clearly communicate their needs and expectations. Returning to work Before an employee s leave ends, their employer may want to discuss their return to work and expectations, such as their role, hours and flexible working arrangements. The National Employment Standards provides employees with a return to work guarantee, allowing them to return to the same position they held before they commenced their period of parental leave. An employee must be on leave or not working from the time they become their child s primary carer, until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period. Employees will not be eligible for Parental Leave Pay if they return to work. If an employee returns to work before the end of their Paid Parental Leave period, the employer needs to notify Centrelink because the employee s Parental Leave Pay will stop. An employer can cancel their subscription to Organisational Online Mail at any time and receive letters from Centrelink through their postal address. Organisational Online Mail has an extensive Help section to support employers. 16

17 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit Keeping in touch with the workplace The purpose of the Keeping in Touch provision is to allow an employee to remain connected with the workplace without losing their entitlement to Parental Leave Pay. Under the Paid Parental Leave scheme an employee has the option, if the employer and employee both agree, to Keep in Touch with the workplace. The employee can participate in workplace activities for up to 10 Keeping in Touch days from the time they become their child s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period, although this cannot occur within the first two weeks following the birth of their child. Activities could include, but are not limited to, attending a planning meeting or a training course. It is important to note that there is no requirement for either an employee or an employer to agree to a Keeping in Touch day. If parents are self-employed, they will be able to keep an eye on their business without being regarded as having returned to work. They will be able to oversee the business operations and perform the occasional administrative task. See the Self-employed parents section of the Employer Toolkit. For more information about Keeping in Touch provisions visit the Paid Parental Leave scheme questions and answers for employers page at Information an employee provides to the Family Assistance Office about their employer When an employee lodges a claim for Parental Leave Pay, they will have to answer a few questions about their employment. They will be asked: what their working arrangements are, for example, whether they are a contractor, permanent or casual employee whether they will still be employed by the employer when they are receiving Parental Leave Pay (this includes if they will be on unpaid leave) if they give the employer permission to provide their Parental Leave Pay in cases where the employer is not required to provide the pay, but they have opted in to do so their employee identification number (if applicable), and the date they started employment with their employer. Employees will also be asked information about their employer including: their employer s business and/or trading name their employer s Australian Business Number, and the name and contact details for the Paid Parental Leave contact in the business. Important: an employee will usually use the employer s Australian Business Number that appears on their pay slip. If a business operates under multiple entities or complex structures, it is important that the employer provides the correct Australian Business Number to their employee to include in their claim form. After an employee submits a claim for the Paid Parental Leave scheme When an employee lodges a claim for the Paid Parental Leave scheme and a decision is made that their employer is required to provide Parental Leave Pay, Centrelink will send the employer an Employer Determination letter if they are required to provide Parental Leave Pay. The letter will include: the employee s name the employee s identification number (if provided by the employee in their claim form) that the employee is eligible for Parental Leave Pay the expected period for which the employer is to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee a request to provide the employer s details (if they have not already done so) a request for written acceptance from the employer (electronically where possible) of the obligation to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee confirmation of business name, Australian Business Number and contact details (all provided by the employee on the claim form) bank account details of the employer employee s pay cycle details employer obligations under the Paid Parental Leave scheme, and employer review and appeal rights. If the employer is already registered for Centrelink Business Online Services, they will be asked to log on to view an online notice. The employer will be able to accept their obligation to provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee online. The employer must do this within 14 days of the date of the notice. 17

18 If the employer is not registered for Centrelink Business Online Services, they will be contacted by mail. The employer will be able to register for Centrelink Business Online Services at this time and conduct further Paid Parental Leave scheme business online. The employer can register for Centrelink Business Online Services, or accept their role by contacting the Centrelink Business Hotline on If the employer does not agree with the decision that they will provide the Parental Leave Pay, they can request a review of the decision within 14 days of the original notice. For more information on reviews see the Review and appeals for the Paid Parental Leave scheme section of the Employer Toolkit. When an employee s Paid Parental Leave period can start When an employee lodges their claim, they will nominate the start date of their Parental Leave Pay. Parental Leave Pay must be paid in one single continuous 18 week (or less) period. Their Paid Parental Leave period can start anytime from the date of birth or adoption, and must all be used within 52 weeks of the birth or adoption. To receive the full 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay, the employee s nominated start date needs to be within 34 weeks of the date of birth or adoption of their child. When providing Parental Leave Pay to an employee ceases Employers should only stop providing Parental Leave Pay to an employee when they receive notification from Centrelink advising that Parental Leave Pay is to cease. The reasons an employer may stop providing Parental Leave Pay to an employee could be: the Paid Parental Leave period has finished the employee is transferring some of their Parental Leave Pay to their partner the employee has returned to work (except in cases of stillbirth or infant death) the parent is no longer an employee of the employer (for example, because they have resigned), or the employee is no longer eligible for Parental Leave Pay. Paid Parental Leave funds When an employee is eligible for Parental Leave Pay and the employer is required to provide the pay, the employer must provide Parental Leave Pay to their employee according to the employee s normal pay cycle. For example, if an employee is usually paid weekly or fortnightly in arrears, this is how they will receive their Parental Leave Pay from their employer. The start date is the first day the employee will be entitled to receive Parental Leave Pay. As with wages, the employee may not receive their Parental Leave Pay on that day. It will be paid in the same way as they would receive wages for that day, for example fortnightly in arrears. As funds may not be provided to the employer until after their employee s nominated start date, the first payment may contain an amount of arrears that is an amount to be paid to the employee for a previous pay period. The amount of arrears that may be in the first Paid Parental Leave funding amount will depend on a number of factors, such as: whether the Paid Parental Leave period is to start from the date of birth or a later date how quickly an employee provides proof of birth (or adoption) and declares they have taken action to register a birth, and the number of days between the employer s payroll cut-off date for any changes to their employee s pay and the employee s payday. 18

19 Paid Parental Leave scheme Employer Toolkit How Paid Parental Leave funds are provided to employers Paid Parental Leave funds will be provided to employers before they are required to provide Parental Leave Pay to an employee. There is no obligation for the employer to provide Parental Leave Pay to an employee until they have received the required funds from Centrelink. Paid Parental Leave funds will be electronically transferred to the employer s nominated bank account by Centrelink, before their employee s usual pay cycle cut-off. Employers can receive Paid Parental Leave funds fortnightly throughout the Paid Parental Leave period or they can choose to receive the funds in three six-weekly instalments. As with wages, an employee may not receive their Parental Leave Pay on the day their Parental Leave Pay starts. It will be paid in the same way as they would receive wages for that day, for example fortnightly in arrears. Because funds may not be provided to employers until after their employee s nominated start date, the first payment may contain an amount of arrears that is an amount to be paid to an employee for a previous pay period. A notification about the funding amount (either electronic or in another written form) will be provided each time an amount is deposited into the employer s account. If a business has multiple employees receiving Parental Leave Pay, the advice will provide details for each employee. Employers will not need a separate bank account for Paid Parental Leave funds. Employers may earn interest on Paid Parental Leave funds. As is normally the case, any interest earned in this way will be treated as income for taxation purposes. Important: whether an organisation processes their own payroll or uses outsourced or shared payroll services, they can nominate who will receive the notices and where the funds are to be deposited. How to provide Parental Leave Pay to an employee Parental Leave Pay should be paid to an employee in the same way as salary and wages. Employers cannot provide Parental Leave Pay in one lump sum nor can an employee take Parental Leave Pay at half pay. Before an employee goes on leave, they may have worked full-time, part-time or as a casual, and may have worked a standard Monday to Friday week or have worked on different days or on variable shifts. No matter what their work arrangements were before they went on leave, all employees who are eligible for Parental Leave Pay will receive the pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage for their particular Paid Parental Leave period. Parental Leave Pay is payable at the daily rate of the National Minimum Wage for each day in the employee s Paid Parental Leave period that is a Monday to Friday inclusive. Parental Leave Pay is not payable for any Saturday or Sunday that is in the employee s Paid Parental Leave period. The daily rate of Parental Leave Pay is calculated by multiplying the hourly rate of the National Minimum Wage (currently $15.51 per hour) by 7.6 hours (standard working day). For example: $15.51 per hour x 7.6 hours = $ per day (before tax). A standard Monday to Friday week: Five days x $ per day = $ per week (before tax). For example: if an employee normally works Wednesday to Saturday, their Parental Leave Pay rate will be $ per week, before tax. If an employee works a standard Monday to Friday week, their Parental Leave Pay rate will also be $ per week, before tax. Belinda worked as a barista from am to 3.00 pm on Thursdays to Saturdays for her employer. She met the Paid Parental Leave work test having worked for 10 of the previous 13 months and at least 330 hours in that period just over one day per week, so she is eligible for the scheme. Once her claim was approved by the Family Assistance Office she was automatically entitled to receive Parental Leave Pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage, currently $ per week. 19

20 Each eligible employee receives $ per week (before tax). Employers are not required to calculate their employee s Parental Leave Pay rate. The daily rate of Parental Leave Pay is included in the Centrelink Payment Advice employers will receive each time they receive Paid Parental Leave funds. Parental Leave Pay is taxable. Employers should withhold PAYG amounts from an employee s Parental Leave Pay at the appropriate rate, consistent with general PAYG withholding obligations for wages and allowances paid to the employee. If an employee receives Parental Leave Pay at the same time as receiving other taxable entitlements such as paid leave, employers will be required to withhold PAYG amounts from the total taxable amount for the relevant pay period. Important: you are not required to change your normal pay practices. Deductions employers may need to make before providing Parental Leave Pay The only deductions that can be made from an employee s Parental Leave Pay are: PAYG withholdings child support, if an employee has a child support liability, and deductions that an employee has authorised and that are principally for the employee s benefit. Child support deductions can be made from an employee s Parental Leave Pay, consistent with the arrangements that apply to child support deductions from salary and wages. Only employees can authorise deductions from their Parental Leave Pay (other than PAYG withholdings or child support). These deductions must be for their benefit and could include: automatic deductions they have in place as part of their usual payroll such as salary sacrifice garnishee arrangements, and voluntary contributions to their superannuation. An employee, who has automatic deductions in place as part of their usual payroll arrangements, may wish to continue these arrangements or put in place new automatic deduction arrangements in respect of their Parental Leave Pay. This will be a matter to be agreed between the employer and their employee in the usual manner. Parental Leave Pay can be salary sacrificed where the employer and the employee agree to such an arrangement. For example, an employee may choose to continue to make voluntary contributions to their superannuation from their Parental Leave Pay. Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholdings Employers must withhold tax from their employee s Parental Leave Pay at the appropriate rate for that employee, consistent with other withholding obligations for pay and allowances paid to the employee. An employee may receive Parental Leave Pay before, after or at the same time as employer provided paid leave, such as annual leave, paid maternity leave, or employer provided unpaid leave. If an employee receives Parental Leave Pay at the same time as receiving other taxable entitlements, such as paid leave, employers need to withhold PAYG amounts from the total amount of taxable entitlement for the relevant pay period. Pay slips Employers will need to give written notification to their employees of their Parental Leave Pay within one working day of the Parental Leave Pay being provided to them. This can be on their usual pay slip or in a separate notice such as a letter or . This is consistent with employer obligations in relation to pay slips under the Fair Work Act It is expected that most employers will choose to provide the information on a pay slip, but the information can be made available on a separate notice. 20

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