Likely extension of Paid Parental Leave: understanding the proposed changes
On 19 October 2023, the Federal Government introduced the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023 into Parliament , signalling potential changes in the existing Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme. These proposed reforms aim to provide substantial support to working families. The changes also have implications for employers.
If the Bill is passed, as appears likely, it will bring about several key changes, including:
- Extended PPL
A substantial extension of the PPL scheme, increasing the leave entitlement to 26 weeks by July 2026.The existing 20-week entitlement, complemented by 100 days of flexible PPL, will first extend to 22 weeks (with an additional 110 days of flexible PPL) in July of the following year. Subsequently, it will further increase to 24 weeks (with 120 flexible days) in July 2025, and ultimately, to 26 weeks (accompanied by 130 flexible days) in July 2026.
- Concurrent leave
Starting in 2026, both parents will have the option to take four weeks of PPL simultaneously if they choose to, marking a notable extension from the previous two weeks of simultaneous PPL.
- Expanding eligibility criteria
The Bill also introduces clarification of eligibility criteria for individuals seeking access to Paid Parental Leave in exceptional circumstances, such as those who are “gaining parents” in a surrogacy arrangement.
The extension of PPL entitlements may require employers to adjust to longer employee absences and make appropriate accommodation for them. If the Bill passes, employers should be ready to review their employment contracts and policies to ensure they align with the extended PPL entitlements.