House debates

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Bills

Paid Parental Leave and Other Legislation Amendment (Dad and Partner Pay and Other Measures) Bill 2012; Consideration in Detail

11:38 am

Photo of Bruce BillsonBruce Billson (Dunkley, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Small Business, Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

I move amendments (1) and (2) as circulated in my name:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (after line 3), at the end of the table, add:

(2) Schedule 2, page 58 (after line 25), at the end of the Schedule, add:

Part 3—Amendments to reduce the compliance burden for employers

Paid Parental Leave Act 2010

36 Section 4 (fourth paragraph under the heading " Chapter 3—Payment of parental leave pay ")

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

37 Section 6 (definition of employer determination decision )

Repeal the definition.

38 Section 6 (definition of subject to review )

Repeal the definition.

39 Section 6 (definition of transfer day )

Omit "(3),".

40 Subsection 64(1) (note)

Omit "Sections 93 and 94 affect", substitute "Section 94 affects".

41 Section 83

Omit "is being reviewed or".

42 Subsection 84(3)

Repeal the subsection.

43 Subsection 85(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

(1) This section applies if both of the following apply:

  (a) the Secretary is required to pay an instalment to a person under subsection 84(4) (which deals with payment of instalments where an employer determination is revoked);

  (b) the employer determination made for the person and the person's employer has never come into force.

44 Subsection 85(3)

Omit "paragraph (1)(a) or (b)", substitute "subsection (1)".

45 Section 93

Repeal the section.

46 Section 100

Omit the section, substitute:

100 Guide to this Part

47 Subsection 101(1)

Omit "Secretary must", substitute "Secretary may".

48 Paragraphs 101(b) and (c)

Repeal the paragraphs, substitute:

(b) both the person and the employer have consented in the claim to the employer paying instalments to the person; and

49 Paragraph 101(f)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

; and (f) the employer determination is made on or before the day on which the payability determination referred to in paragraph (a) is made.

50 Subsections 101(2) and (3)

Repeal the subsections.

51 Subsection 101(4)

Omit all the words after and including "of all or any", substitute "that the employer is not a fit and proper person".

52 Subsection 102(5)

After "a person", insert "and the person's employer".

53 Subsection 102(5)

Omit "the person a", substitute "them a".

54 Subsection 102(5)

Omit "the person of", substitute "them of".

55 Section 103

Before "Within", insert "(1)".

56 Section 103

Omit all the words after and including "do one of", substitute "give the Secretary a written notice (the acceptance notice) that complies with section 104".

57 Section 103 (note)

Repeal the note.

58 At the end of section 103

Add:

(2) The employer may, at any time, by written notice given to the Secretary, withdraw the acceptance notice.

59 Subsection 104(5)

Repeal the subsection.

60 Sections 105 and 106

Repeal the sections.

61 Subsection 107(1)

Omit "or (3)".

62 Subsection 107(2)

Omit "or a compliance notice given under section 157".

63 Subsection 107(3)

Repeal the subsection.

64 Subsection 108(1) (table item 2)

Omit "as required by a compliance notice given for a contravention of section 103", substitute "within the time required under subsection 103(1) or has, by written notice given to the Secretary, withdrawn the acceptance notice for the employer determination".

65 Subsection 108(6)

Repeal the subsection.

66 Division 4 of Part 3-5

Repeal the Division.

67 Section 146 (table items 10 and 11)

Repeal the items.

68 Subsection 157(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

Compliance notice given by Secretary

(1) This section applies if the Secretary reasonably believes that a person has contravened subsection 82(2) (which deals with notifying the Secretary if certain events happen).

69 Paragraphs 159(1)(b) and (c)

Repeal the paragraphs.

70 Section 202 (fifth paragraph of the Guide to Part 5-1)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

71 Subsection 203(2)

Repeal the subsection.

72 Subsection 205(1)

Omit ", 207".

73 Paragraph 206(1)(b)

Repeal the paragraph.

74 Section 207

Repeal the section.

75 Subsection 209(2)

Omit ", other than an application under section 207 (which deals with application for review of employer determination decisions),".

76 Paragraphs 210(2)(a) and (b)

Omit "an employer determination decision or".

77 Paragraphs 212(1)(c)

Repeal the paragraph.

78 Paragraph 212(1)(d)

Omit "any other", substitute "a".

79 Section 213

Omit "employer determination decisions and".

80 Subparagraphs 215(2)(a)(vi) and (vii)

Repeal the subparagraphs.

81 Paragraphs 223(1)(a) to (d)

Omit "an employer determination decision or".

82 Subsection 224(1)

Repeal the subsection.

83 Subsection 224(3)

Omit "(1) or".

84 Paragraph 225(2)(b)

Repeal the paragraph.

As Bill Kelty said, the truth will often do. The changes that we are foreshadowing in these amendments do not in any way alter people's eligibility. They do not in any way compromise what the minister boasts about as the success of the scheme. In fact, what was ironic was that in the early phase of the scheme, the option that we are putting forward was the way the scheme operated. So for the first six months this is what happened: these payments were paid by Centrelink through the Family Assistance Office directly to eligible employees and it was on that basis the government went around boasting about the success of the scheme. All we are saying is let the success continue. If that is the benchmark, make that available to employers. But for those where the employee and the employer wish to have the employer handle the payment then so be it. We are not objecting to that. If that is people's desire then these amendments facilitate that.

I remember last time this debate was held that one of the people brought out in support of the current arrangements was Sony, a very substantial international corporation with more people in their pay office than most small businesses have in their entire enterprise. They had an existing paid parental leave scheme, so it was a matter of simply bolting on the extra cash from the Commonwealth and they were more than happy to do that. I say good luck to them, but not every business in Australia is Sony. Not everyone is in a position to carry out that work and not everyone is desirous of carrying out that work, either as an employer or as an employee, but if they are, let them do that work on behalf of the Commonwealth. Let employers and employees who are eligible for PPL payments opt in to have the employer pay those payments.

The minister says this is part of the staying in touch regime. Again, I would draw her attention to the fact that the staying in touch provisions that are available under the legislation the government has introduced are not being altered at all. We are not stopping that. We see the value in that. Where there might be some change in technology or an important occasion within the workplace where someone on a period of paid parental leave is invited to come back in and be a part of the workplace because of something of significance, we are not opposed to that. What this is about is who organises the back of house work to see some digits appear in an electronic bank statement. This is not mid last century, when you came in and got your pay cheque off somebody. There is no physical engagement with this payment—it is an electronic funds transfer. So how that adds to the quality of the relationship between an employer and an employee is beyond me. I am quite certain most workplaces I have been involved with and many I have talked to, rather than turn their minds to more than 20 engagements in transactions with the risk of fines if they get them wrong, would rather spend their time talking with the person eligible for paid parental leave about how things are going, how the microhuman is going, how the family is going and how excited people are about coming back, even organising a bouquet of flowers, not having this the red tape burden that would distract the employer from that work.

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