Parental leave and WFH
The pandemic has wrought many changes to everyday life, and to working life in particular. Chief among these has been the rapid shift to working remotely, most commonly referred to as “working from home” (WFH).
In September, the Fair Work Commission release some draft wording on proposed WFH arrangements to go into awards.
Workplace Express reports that “the draft schedule would enable employees to work the same hours over fewer days, share reduced hours across a team, and take twice as much leave at half pay, while employers utilising the schedule's provisions would need to consent to the FWC arbitrating any disputes”.
The President of the Fair Work Commission, Iain Ross, noted that while about 20 per cent of enterprise agreements contain WFH provisions, almost no awards do, an omission that works against mutual flexibility in this area.
Meanwhile, the Morrison government recently passed legislation reforming the federal government’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme. Under the new arrangements, parents will be able to take the 18 weeks of PPL in two blocks.
The first 12 weeks will be traditional leave, while the final six weeks can be used flexibly, either in a single block, or in single days or groups of days over the following 12 months. It is expected that parents might use this as flexible leave after their return to work.
The government is also proposing further changes that would permit all parents to access up to 30 days of unpaid leave until their child turns two, while also clarifying the entitlements to PPL for situations of stillbirths, infant deaths, and premature births.
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