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2.2.13 Return to Work & When Paid Work is for a Permissible Purpose for PLP

Introduction

Once a person has returned to work they are no longer eligible for PLP. Note, however, that they may still receive a PLP instalment relating to a period prior to the day they returned to work.

 

Where a person performs work for a permissible purpose (1.1.P.140) (see below) they are not considered to have returned to work. Defence force members and law enforcement officers compulsorily recalled to duty (1.1.R.05) also are not considered to have returned to work.

 

Exceptions to the return to work rule for PLP

There are exceptions to the return to work rule as follows:

  • A primary claimant may still be eligible to receive PLP after returning to work where the child is stillborn (1.1.S.90) or has died before that day.
  • Defence force members and law enforcement officers compulsorily recalled to duty are not considered to have returned to work.
  • If a person performs paid work on a day because they have to comply with the requirements of a summons or other compulsory process (1.1.S.95) they are not considered to have returned to work.
  • A primary claimant, who is the birth mother of the child, may still be eligible to receive PLP after returning to work (1.1.R.50) where the child is required to remain in hospital or is hospitalised immediately after their birth is not considered to have returned to work.
    • The return to work can be disregarded if it occurs within the period that starts 14 days after the child is born and ends on the day the child is discharged from hospital.
    • The child must have been hospitalised because either: the child was born prematurely, the child developed a complication or contracted and illness during their period of gestation or at birth, or the child developed a complication or contracted an illness following their birth.
  • A secondary claimant, who is the father of the child or a partner of the birth mother or a partner of the father of the child, may still be eligible to receive PLP after returning to work where the child is required to remain in hospital or is hospitalised immediately after their birth is not considered to have returned to work.
    • The return to work can be disregarded if it occurs within the period that starts on the day the child is born and ends on the day the child is discharged from hospital.
    • The child must have been hospitalised because either: the child was born prematurely, the child developed a complication or contracted an illness during their period of gestation or at birth, or the child developed a complication or contracted an illness following their birth.
  • A primary, secondary or tertiary claimant who has lost care (1.1.L.30) of their child under certain circumstances may still be eligible to receive PLP after returning to work.
  • A secondary or tertiary claimant may still eligible for PLP if they performed paid work, other than for a permissible purpose, during the period commencing immediately after the primary or secondary claimant stopped caring for the child and ending when the care arrangements were settled, provided that care arrangements for the child were settled within a reasonable time after the primary or secondary claimant stopped caring for the child.

 

When is a person considered to have returned to work?

A person returns to work on a day if, on that day, the person performs one hour or more of paid work (1.1.P.20) other than for a permissible purpose. Where a person performs voluntary work and is not being paid, they will not have performed paid work.

 

What is a permissible purpose?

What constitutes a 'permissible purpose' is different for a self-employed person compared to a person who is not self-employed.

 

Permissible purpose for a self-employed person

A self-employed person is a person who performs work for the purpose of a business that is carried on by the person (whether alone or with others), or an entity that is controlled by the person (whether alone or with others). A person who is employed by, or is a managing director of a company which they control, and through which they operate their business, would fall within this definition. This would include a person who runs a farm which is owned by a trust or other entity, as long as the person controls the trust or entity (either on their own or with others).

 

For claimants or recipients within this category, paid work is for a permissible purpose if it consists of overseeing the business or is an occasional administrative task for the purposes of the business. This reflects the reality that a self-employed person may still need to oversee their business and perform administrative tasks during the first year of their baby's life.

 

Only ad hoc activities undertaken by a self-employed person would be regarded as work performed for a permissible purpose. Permissible activities in this context could include:

  • arranging repair of equipment,
  • paying an account,
  • checking the delivery of an order, or
  • dealing with an ad hoc dispute.

 

A self-employed person who is actively engaged in running or maintaining the daily operations of the business during their PPL period would be regarded as having returned to work and would not be regarded as working for a permissible purpose.

 

Permissible purpose for a person who is not self-employed

For a person other than a self-employed person, that is, someone who performs paid work for another, paid work is for a permissible purpose where:

  • the person performs paid work for an entity as an employee, defence force member or law enforcement officer on a keeping in touch day (1.1.K.10) with the entity on a day that would otherwise be a day of leave in a period of leave granted by that entity, and
  • the person has not already performed paid work on 10 keeping in touch days (whether with the entity or another entity).

 

Note: 'Entity' is defined as any of: an individual, a body corporate, a body politic, a partnership, any other unincorporated association or body of persons or a trust.

 

Performing paid work on a keeping in touch day

Performing work for an entity on a keeping in touch day applies to people who are employees of an entity while they are on leave granted by that entity. It also applies to people who have been engaged by an entity as a defence force member or law enforcement officer, while they are on leave granted by that entity. It does not cover other categories of worker.

 

For people covered, a day of work is a keeping in touch day if performing the work is to enable the person to keep in touch with his or her employment or engagement in order to facilitate a return to that employment or engagement after the period of leave. Activities such as training days, planning days and conferences would meet this requirement.

 

Additionally, both the person and the entity must have consented to the person performing work for the entity on that day. Consent must be freely given, and does not include agreement extracted as the result of threats or coercion by any person or entity.

 

The day must not be within 14 days after the day the child was born, if the person has suggested or requested to perform work for the entity on that day. Otherwise the day must not be within 42 days after the date of birth of the child if the Keeping in Touch day is requested by the entity.

Example: Danielle is a theatre nurse at a local hospital who is receiving PLP. She is asked if she wants to attend 2 work training days when her baby is aged 2 months and agrees to do so. Although Danielle could not return to work and continue to receive PLP, the 'keeping in touch' provisions allow her to attend work for the purpose of keeping in touch for up to 10 days from the time she becomes her child's primary carer (i.e. from the DOB) until the end of her PPL period. Thus Danielle is able to keep up-to-date with her training at the hospital and continue to receive PLP.

 

An entity is obliged to pay the employee for work performed on a keeping in touch day under the relevant contract of employment or industrial agreement.

 

Act reference: PPLAct section 48 When a person returns to work, section 49 When paid work is for a permissible purpose, section 50 Performing paid work on a keeping in touch day

Paid Parental Leave Rules 2010

Policy reference: PPL Guide 1.1.K.10 Keeping in touch day, 1.1.R.50 Returns to work

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Last reviewed: 11 November 2013

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