On 11 September 2019 the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Work Test) Bill 2019 (Cth) (the “Bill”) was introduced to the House of Representatives. The Bill passed the Lower House on 19 September 2019 and was introduced to the Senate later on the same day. The Bill was initially introduced by the Hon Dan Tehan, Minister for Education, and proposes to amend the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth) (the “Act”).
According to the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum (“EM”), the Bill aims to introduce (in part) “the measure affecting Paid Parental Leave, announced in the['MYEFO'] measure ‘Extending Access to Parental Leave Pay’.”
This Bill makes amendments to the Act in order to make improvements to the Work Test Arrangements to ensure more working mothers are eligible for Parental Leave Pay. The amendments to the Paid Parental Leave work test will to take into account the circumstances of pregnant employees who are "unable to continue in their job because the hazardous nature of their employment presents a risk to their pregnancy and there is no safe job alternative available".
According to the Explanatory Memorandum, under the current Paid Parental Leave Scheme, a person will meet the Paid Parental Leave work test where they have:
The proposed amendments will provide for the permissible break in the Paid Parental Leave work test to be extended from eight weeks to 12 weeks between two working days.
The Explanatory Memorandum indicates the amendments will also allow the work test period for a pregnant woman in an unsafe job to be moved from the “13-month period prior to the birth of her child to the 13-month period before she had to cease work due to the hazards connected with her employment and the subsequent risk to her pregnancy”.
In his second reading speech to Parliament, Mr Tehan said:
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Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Work Test) Bill 2019 (Cth) - Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase's LawOne Service
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