Under the Paid Parental Leave scheme you have the option, if you and your employer agree, to keep in touch with your workplace without losing your Parental Leave Pay.
The purpose of the Keeping in Touch provision is to let you stay connected with your workplace and help you transition back into work.
A paid work activity of 1 hour or more on a day for the purpose of Keeping in Touch counts as 1 Keeping in Touch day, and counts towards the 10 day limit.
You can access up to 10 Keeping in Touch days from when you become your child’s primary carer until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period.
You can’t access a Keeping in Touch day within the first 2 weeks of the birth of your child. If you request or suggest a Keeping in Touch day and it’s more than 2 weeks after the birth, you can participate if your employer agrees. Your employer can’t ask you to participate in a Keeping in Touch day within the first 6 weeks after the birth or adoption.
Keeping in Touch days won’t extend your Paid Parental Leave period and won’t affect your payment of Parental Leave Pay. A paid work activity for the purpose of Keeping in Touch can help you:
- refresh your skills
- transition back to the workplace
- become familiar with new or updated processes, or
- be involved in planning discussions or meetings that may affect your role
Activities could include, but aren’t limited to:
- participating in a planning meeting
- performing on the job training, or
- performing work to become familiar with the workplace or your role before returning to work
Work performed on a Keeping in Touch day will count as service and your employer must pay you for the time you work. A Keeping in Touch day may affect your workplace entitlements, such as leave accrual.
Resuming regular work activities other than Keeping in Touch days is considered to be returning to work. You’ll also be considered as having returned to work if you access more than 10 Keeping in Touch days before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period.
You have an obligation to tell us if you’ve returned to work during your Paid Parental Leave period. Your employer also has an obligation to notify us of this.
Under the National Employment Standards, accessing a Keeping in Touch day doesn’t affect your entitlement to 12 months unpaid parental leave.
Read more about Keeping in touch days on the Fair Work Act 2009 on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Self employment and keeping an eye on your business
To get Parental Leave Pay, you must be on leave or not working from the time you become your child’s primary carer until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period. However, if you need to, you can perform occasional tasks to keep an eye on your business or to ensure your business remains operational while you’re on leave.
For example, you could:
- pay an account
- check on the delivery of an order
- approve the business accounts
- deal with ad hoc disputes
- organise a repair
- organise replacement staff to manage your absence
- maintain a basic level of contact with clients, and
- keep your professional skills up to date
If you return to actively running or maintaining the daily operations of your business before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period, you’ll be regarded as having returned to work.