The Federal Government has introduced legislation into the House of Representatives to reduce paperwork and red tape for business under the Paid Parental Leave scheme.
Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews and Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson said the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 would see parental leave pay paid directly by Centrelink from March 1 2014.
“The current system requires employers to process parental leave pay after receiving an employee’s entitlement from Centrelink,” Mr Billson said.
“It is unnecessarily complex, and forces small businesses to bear the costs of the extra workload and of restructuring their payroll and accounting systems.
“We have listened to employers who told us the administrative burden of the current Paid Parental Leave scheme was too onerous.
“Most employers have always been against this added red tape—they expressed their opposition during consultations before the scheme started, throughout the life of the scheme and in a recent review of the current scheme.
“This Government knows that employers don’t need extra paperwork, and should be supported to focus on running their business.”
Mr Andrews said this change was the step towards the Government’s plans to make Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme fairer.
“We know how hard it can be for new parents to manage their budget after the birth of a child,” Mr Andrews said.
“We will deliver a genuine Paid Parental Leave scheme to give mothers six months leave based on their actual wage, rather than being limited to 18 weeks of payment at the national minimum wage.
“This will give new mothers a better choice if they want to combine work with family and continue their career.
“The change will make it easier for employers, who will no longer have to administer the scheme themselves.
“It is an important first step towards a better, fairer Paid Parental Leave scheme that recognises the demands placed on families and employers.”
Employers will still be able to opt in to provide parental leave pay to their employees should both the employer and employee agree to this arrangement.