Find Out About Paid Leave For Dads
CCER recently welcomed a new addition to its family. Welcome to the world baby Mateo Segarra! New Dad, Administration Officer José, said that “taking time off when Mateo was born was great. It allowed me to spend those first crucial days bonding with my son. It was amazing to see how much he changed in appearance the first weeks.”
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) allows all employees to take unpaid parental leave if they have been employed by their employer for 12 months or more before the birth or adoption of a child, and will be responsible for the care of the child.
However, just one in 20 men in Australia take parental leave as the primary carer. CCER often receives enquiries about what leave and payments the non-primary carer can access so they can also take time away from work to spend with their child. While the Fair Work Act allows for up to eight weeks of unpaid leave to be taken by both parents concurrently, most of the questions CCER receives are about paid leave entitlements.
Accessing the Australian Government’s Dad and Partner Pay is one option. Dad and Partner Pay is an entitlement under the Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme, paid directly to dads or partners, giving them up to two weeks of government-funded pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage (Currently $740-$780 per week).
How does it work?
Your employee needs to apply to the Department of Human Services (Centrelink) for the payment and to negotiate their leave arrangements with you. To be eligible, they will need to:
- care for a newborn or newly adopted child
- be an Australian resident
- have individually earned less than $150,000 in the last financial year
- be on unpaid leave
- have met the work test in the 13 months before their Dad and Partner Pay period starts.
Dad and Partner Pay can be accessed at any time before or after other paid leave (e.g. Annual Leave, Personal/Carer’s Leave, Long Service Leave), however it cannot be taken at the same time as paid leave. To apply for unpaid leave, your employee should follow your leave policy.
Your employee should contact the Department of Human Services for further information regarding their eligibility for the payment.
What do you need to do?
Your employee may approach you about taking unpaid leave for up to 2 weeks so they can receive Dad and Partner Pay. You don’t need to administer Dad and Partner Pay, the Government will always pay your employee directly.
You might have a policy which says that you will pay a top-up payment to supplement their Dad and Partner Pay e.g. the difference between their normal pay and their Dad and Partner pay. A top up payment is not considered ‘paid leave’ for the purposes of Dad and Partner Pay eligibility.
What if my employee isn’t eligible for Dad and Partner Pay, or wants to take another form of leave?
As noted above, Dad and Partner Pay is only accessible to employees who meet certain criteria, however, paid leave may be available.
The Segarra family were blessed with a trouble-free birth. However, had either Eliza or Mateo experienced complications and required care, José would also have been able to access his paid Personal/ Carer’s leave to care for either of them.
Long Service Leave will also be available to those employees who have had the required length of service.
Your employee may have also other entitlements provided for in their Contract of Employment, an Award or Enterprise Agreement, or policy document.
CCER’s Jose, with wife Eliza and baby Mateo
Father and son having a nap during Jose’s leave
Author: Sarahanne Moody is an Employment Relations Specialist at CCER.