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Employers warned:Prepare for parental leave now

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A MEETING of human resource professionals in Brisbane will today be told they need to be prepared for elements the new paid parental leave scheme to come into play as early as this month.

Chief Operating Officer of resource industry employer group AREEA, Mr Christopher Platt, said employers could expect the first claims for Paid Parental Leave to be lodged in October 2010 for children expected to be born or adopted on 1 January 2011.

“Employers need to be thinking now about how they are going to handle their businesses transition to the new paid parental leave scheme,” Mr Platt said.

“Over the first six months of 2011 employers will have the choice of either administering paid parental leave for their employees themselves, or have the Federal Government administer the scheme on their behalf. “

“Clearly, with claims starting to be lodged from October 1 employers will have to decide on how they are going to handle parental leave for their employees in this transition period.” he said.

Mr Platt said from July 1, 2011 employers will also be legally required to ensure their own systems provide parental leave pay to eligible long-term employees.

“Disappointingly, the scheme has been structured in such a way businesses will be obliged to take on the added administrative burden associated with the scheme,” Mr Platt said.

“The choice employers need to decide upon is whether to use the next nine months to ensure they have their systems in place to accommodate the scheme or wait until the transitional arrangements expire and they are forced to take up the task.” he said.

Mr Platt said the new laws required employers honour any parental leave payments under existing industrial agreements or common law contracts, though recommended employers seek advice on how best to accommodate these requirements moving forward.

Mr Platt said many resource industry employers already offered generous parental leave incentives as part of their recruitment and retention strategies.


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