By Charles Power
Paid parental leave entitlements to be increased
The Paid Parental Leave work test is being altered to take into account the circumstances of pregnant employees who are unable to continue working because of the hazardous nature of their employment that presents a risk to their pregnancy – and there is no safe job alternative available.
Currently, an employee must have:
- worked for at least 10 months of the 13 months period prior to the birth or adoption of their child; and
- worked for at least 330 hours in that 10-month period with no more than an eight week gap between two working days, in order to satisfy the work test. A person having a break of up to eight weeks between two working days is classified as a ‘permissible break’.
The changes will:
- measure the 13-month work requirement, not from the date the child was born, but from the date the pregnant employee ceased work due to the hazards at her workplace posing risk to her pregnancy; and
- provide for the ‘permissible break’ in the work test to be extended from eight weeks to 12 weeks between two working days.
If passed, the changes will take effect on 1 January 2020.
Superannuation Guarantee amnesty
A one-off Superannuation Guarantee (SG) amnesty is being proposed for employers to ‘self-correct’ any past SG non-compliance.
The amnesty period applies from 24 May 2018, and ends 6 months after the day the Bill receives Royal Assent.
The amnesty is available in relation to SG shortfalls in quarters from 1 July 1992 to the quarter starting 1 January 2018.
To be eligible, employers must disclose to the ATO within the amnesty period the amount of the shortfall and why it was not disclosed before the amnesty period.
The employer must still pay an employee’s full entitlement including the employee’s individual shortfall, nominal interest, and any related general interest charge on unpaid amounts of SG charge.
However, the amnesty will allow the employer to claim tax deductions for payments of SG charge or contributions made during the amnesty period to offset SG charge, as well as eliminating penalties and fees that may otherwise apply in relation to historical SG non-compliance.