Dad and Partner Pay
As of January 1 2013 dads and partners of babies and newly adopted children will be eligible to receive two weeks of Government funded pay at the rate of the current national minimum wage ($606 per week before tax). This scheme is the most recent announcement in a raft of family assistance payments the government is hoping will make it easier for families to manage.
Families Minister Jenny Macklin announced the payment and said it was particularly beneficial for self-employed, contract, seasonal and casual workers who generally don’t receive paternity leave from their employers.
She said the scheme would enable dads and partners to take more time off in the critical early months to bond with their new baby and help mums right from the start.
To be eligible to receive the payment dads or partners must be the:
- biological father of the child
- partner of the birth mother
- adopting parent
- partner of the adopting parent
- parent in a surrogacy arrangement
- partner of a parent in a surrogacy arrangement, or
- same-sex partner of the birth mother, biological father or the adopting parent.
- provide care for a child born or adopted from 1 January 2013
- be an Australian resident
- meet the work test, which requires employees to have worked for:
- at least 10 of the 13 months before the start of the Dad and Partner Pay period and
- at least 330 hours in that 10 month period (just over a day a week), with no more than an eight week gap between two consecutive working days
- have had an individual adjusted taxable income of $150 000 or less in the financial year either before the date of your claim or the date the Dad and Partner Pay period starts (whichever is earlier), and
- be on unpaid leave or not working during the Dad and Partner Pay period.
ACTU President Ged Kearney has welcomed the scheme and says the new laws will make it easier for fathers and partners, including adopting parents and parents in same-sex couples, to freely seek access to leave.
“Many dads and partners do get to share in the joyous time when their new baby arrives already, but there are also many who either do not feel comfortable asking for time off when their partner gives birth, or simply have their request rejected,” she said.
“This is wrong and unions are pleased that these new laws mean all employers will now have to move into the modern era and will help ensure workplaces reflect the reality of modern working families”
What employers need to know:
The Dad and Partner Pay scheme is funded by the Australian government and employers do not have a role in paying for it or administering it. The two week’s worth of pay will be paid directly to eligible dads and partners, unlike the government funded parental leave payment which is paid via employers.
It is important to remember that employees must take unpaid leave and will not be eligible to receive Dad and Partner Pay if they continue to receive a salary for the two weeks they are off work. A dad or partner may take the leave at the same time as the mother is taking paid parental leave. However, the leave cannot be taken at the same time the employee is taking other paid leave.
The main role employers will have is advising employees that the Dad and Partner Pay scheme is available and discussing with employees when they will take their unpaid leave. Employees need to apply for Dad and Partner Pay themselves through the government’s Human Services website and can take their pay period anytime in the first year after the adoption or birth of a child.
It is worth noting that an employee can apply to take their Dad and Parental Pay up to three months in advance. This is worth keeping in mind if your organisation is concerned about an employee’s absence. Encouraging employees to plan for and apply for their leave early will give your organisation plenty of time to make arrangements to cover the employee’s absence and will reduce disruption for other employees.
Dad and Partner Pay does not affect an employee’s right to workplace leave entitlements under the National Employment Standards and if an employee has worked continuously for you for 12 months or more they may still be entitled to 12 months unpaid parental leave, with the possibility of extending that by another 12 months.
For more information on the Dad and Partner Pay scheme visit the Department of Human Services website or call 13 61 50.
For information on how to help new parents find child care and better balance their work and family responsibilities click here
This Better Workplace Bulletin was First Published in November 2012