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.
There are exceptions to the return to work rule as follows:
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 constitutes a 'permissible purpose' is different for a self-employed person compared to a person who is not self-employed.
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:
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.
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:
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 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
Last reviewed: 11 November 2013