Paid Parental Leave changes mean more flexibility for parents

Wednesday September 16, 2020

The government’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Scheme was recently amended. While the amount of leave hasn’t changed, the new scheme offers primary carers more flexibility around how and when they take their Paid Parental Leave.

Now, eligible employees can split their Parental Leave Pay into two periods within two years. Previously all 18-weeks of leave (90 days of paid leave at minimum wage) had to be taken in one block.

The changes to the scheme enable employees to take the first 12-weeks (or 60 payable days) within 12-months of the child’s birth or adoption, and the second six-weeks (or 30 payable days) within two years of the birth or adoption. Importantly, the full 18-week Paid Parental Leave can still be taken as one block if the employee prefers this option.

An employee must apply for their PPL and this should be done before the child is born or adopted. The government will then pay their employer the funds, which are passed on to the employee. When applying for PPL, an employee will need to confirm both how and when they wish to receive their Parental Leave Pay.

These changes do not affect employees whose child was born or adopted before 1 July, 2020. In addition, since 14 September, the government will use the child’s birth or adoption date to identify if the changes will affect the employee. If it does, they will provide further information.

The updated PPL Scheme will help employees with their work/life balance and is certainly a welcome change at a time when life is especially challenging due to COVID-19. The newly added flexibility will be very beneficial for many parents. Households will now have more options available to them around how they manage their household income while one partner is caring for their child. It may also allow primary carers to return to work sooner if they choose, and for the other carer to spend more time with their child.

Employers might like to consider the benefits derived from family-friendly policies like these, which include:

  • Aiding diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Assisting employees to better manage their family and lifestyle needs while taking business needs into account
  • Boosting employee morale
  • Increasing employee health and wellbeing

Family-friendly and flexible working arrangements can also help with employee retention and attracting new talent.

Have any questions around creating or implementing family-friendly work policies? The HR Dept is here to help. Our friendly experts can assist you create and implement HR policies that benefit your business as well as your employees.

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