Keeping in Touch with your employee who is receiving Parental Leave Pay
Employees receiving Parental Leave Pay have the option, with your agreement, to keep in touch with the workplace. The purpose of the Keeping in Touch provision is to allow an employee to remain connected with their workplace and help them transition back into work, without losing their entitlement to Parental Leave Pay.
The provision simply ensures that your employee does not lose their entitlement to Parental Leave Pay if they participate in paid work for the purpose of Keeping in Touch.
Your employee can access up to 10 Keeping in Touch days from the time they become their child’s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period. Your employee can’t take a Keeping in Touch day within the first two weeks following the birth or adoption of their child. If they request or suggest one (and it’s more than two weeks after the birth or adoption), they can participate if you agree. You cannot ask your employee to participate in a Keeping in Touch day within the first six weeks after the birth or adoption.
If your employee participates in a paid work activity for the purpose of Keeping in Touch for one hour or more on a day, that will count as one Keeping in Touch day towards the 10 day limit.
You and your employee must both agree they can take part in a Keeping in Touch activity and the arrangements for the activity. Either party can decide they do not wish the Keeping in Touch activity to take place.
If an employee participates in paid work before the end of their Paid Parental Leave period for any purpose other than Keeping in Touch, their Parental Leave Pay will stop. Your employee will also be considered as having returned to work if they access more than 10 Keeping in Touch days during their Paid Parental Leave period.
Keeping in Touch day effects on an employee’s leave entitlements
Under the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009, employees who have worked for you for 12 months or more before the birth or adoption of their child may be entitled to up to 12 months unpaid parental leave. This leave must be taken in a single continuous period. Accessing a Keeping in Touch day will not break this single continuous period.
For more information about workplace entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website or call 131 394.
Keeping in Touch activities
A paid work activity for the purpose of Keeping in Touch should assist your employee to:
- transition back into the workplace
- refresh their skills
- become familiar with new or updated processes
- be involved in forward planning discussions or meetings that may affect their role.
Activities could include, but are not limited to:
- participating in a planning meeting
- performing on-the-job training
- performing work to become familiar with the workplace and/or their role before returning to work.
Both you and your employee need to agree on the type of paid work activity that your employee will perform on the Keeping in Touch day.
If your employee participates in a workplace activity they are not entitled to receive any payment or benefit for, the activity will not count as a Keeping in Touch day or returning to work. Keeping in Touch does not prevent your employee voluntarily attending the workplace to:
- visit colleagues
- participate in social events
- undertake other unpaid activities at work.
If you are self-employed, you will be able to keep an eye on your business without being regarded as having returned to work. Read more about receiving Parental Leave Pay when you are self-employed.
Payment arrangements for Keeping in Touch activities
Keeping in Touch activities are defined as paid work, so you are obliged to pay your employee for work performed. While Parental Leave Pay is paid at the rate of the National Minimum Wage, if an employee performs paid work on a Keeping in Touch day, they must be paid in accordance with their contract of employment or industrial instrument.
The government is not responsible for providing payments to employees for work performed on a Keeping in Touch day. This is your responsibility and both you and your employee should consider payment arrangements when agreeing to a Keeping in Touch activity.
More information about workplace entitlements under the Fair Work Act 2009 is available on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website or by calling 131 394.