Working mothers who are the primary caregivers of a newborn or adopted child will be eligible for 18 weeks of paid parental leave, if a proposal in the Australian Budget 2009-10 is implemented.
The Paid Parental Leave (PPL) plan aims to improve the work-life balance for parents and give them more support, as the country does not have a national statutory parental leave plan. If approved, the PPL will come into effect on January 1, 2011, giving employers and businesses plenty of time to prepare.
The main features of the PPL scheme are as follows:
- To be eligible, the parent or caregiver must have earned less than AUD 150,000 (USD 116,912) in the financial year prior to the birth or adoption of the child, worked for at least 300 hours over a 10-month period preceding the birth or adoption, or have have worked for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the the birth or adoption.
- The eligible employee will be able to apply for 18 weeks of PPL at the federal weekly minimum wage, which is currently AUD 553.78 (USD 432). PPL must be taken within 12 months of the birth or adoption of the child and will be paid for by the government in advance to the employer, who will make payments to the employee every two weeks.
- Employees who opt into the PPL plan will not receive any further support such as Baby Bonus or Family Tax Benefit B. However, the leave can be taken in addition to the employer’s maternity leave.
- Income received while on leave will be taxable