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FOR – Bills — Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023; in Committee

Larissa Waters

by leave—I move:

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendments:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (table item 1), omit the table item, substitute:

(2) Page 14 (after line 18), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 2 — Superannuation for Commonwealth-funded parental leave pay

Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992

1 After section 5A

Insert:

5AA Application of Act to Commonwealth for payments of parental leave pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010

(1) If a payment of parental leave pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 is made to a person (or to a person's payment nominee within the meaning of that Act):

(a) the person is taken, for the purposes of this Act (including the definition of Commonwealth employee in subsection 6(1) of this Act), to be employed by the Commonwealth as an employee of the Commonwealth in respect of the payment; and

(b) the responsible Department, in relation to the employment of the person as a Commonwealth employee, is taken, for the purposes of this Act (including the definition of responsible Department in subsection 5(5) of this Act), to be the Department of State administered by the Minister administering the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010; and

(c) the payment of parental leave pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (disregarding any deductions made under Part 3-1 of that Act) made to the person is taken, for the purposes of this Act, to be salary or wages paid by the Commonwealth to the person as an employee of the Commonwealth.

Note: The effect of this subsection and section 5 of this Act is that the Commissioner will be required to pay amounts for the benefit of a person under Part 8 of this Act if the Commonwealth does not pay sufficient superannuation for the person for payments of parental leave pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 made to the person.

(2) To avoid doubt, subsection (1) applies whether the payment of parental leave pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 is made to the person in accordance with Part 3-2 or 3-3 of that Act.

2 Application of amendment

Section 5AA of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992, as inserted by this Schedule, applies in relation to payments of parental leave pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 made in relation to days, in an instalment period (within the meaning of the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010), occurring on or after 1 July 2024.

2062-EM

Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023

(Requests for amendments to be moved by Senator Waters, on behalf of the Australian Greens, in committee of the whole)

Statement pursuant to the order of   .the Senate of 26 June 2000

Amendment (2)

Amendment (2) is framed as a request because it would expand the categories of salary or wages used to calculate whether the Commonwealth (as an employer) has a superannuation guarantee shortfall under the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 ( SGA Act ). It does so by providing that payments to a person of parental leave pay under the Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 are taken, for the purposes of the SGA Act, to be payments of salary or wages to that person as an employee of the Commonwealth.

If the Commonwealth does not pay sufficient superannuation as an employer on salary or wages in accordance with the SGA Act, then the Commonwealth will have a superannuation guarantee shortfall under that Act. As the amendment expands the categories of salary or wages, the amendment will likely increase the amount of the Commonwealth's superannuation guarantee shortfall under the SGA Act, which would increase any superannuation guarantee charge in respect of that shortfall that is taken to have been paid by the Commonwealth under section 5 of the SGA Act. This would have the effect of increasing the amount the Commissioner of Taxation is required to pay under Part 8 of the SGA Act under the standing appropriation in section 71 of that Act.

Amendment (1)

Amendment (1) is consequential to amendment (2).

Statement by the Clerk of the Senate pursuant   .to the order of the Senate of 26 June 2000

Amendment (2)

If the effect of the amendment is to increase expenditure under the standing appropriation in section 71 of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992, then it is in accordance with the precedents of the Senate that the amendment be moved as a request.

Amendment (1)

This amendment is consequential on the request. It is the practice of the Senate that an amendment that is consequential on an amendment framed as a request may also be framed as a request.

These are the amendments that would say, 'Why are women having to wait for superannuation to be paid on their paid parental leave until 1 July of next year?' We welcome the fact that the government has finally and belatedly announced that superannuation will be added to the government portion of paid parental leave, but there is still no justification for why women are being asked to wait for—what is it?—16 months until that meagre top-up, important though it may be, will be added to their PPL. This amendment says to the government, 'Stop making women wait for the good things.' Paid parental leave is the only entitlement upon which superannuation is not currently paid. It is also the only entitlement that is predominantly taken by women. Ergo, it is gender discrimination.

We're pleased that the government have said that they will fix this, but there is no justification for making women wait. This amendment says that you will be able to get superannuation paid on your paid parental leave from 1 July of this year; you don't have to wait until 1 July of next year. Making women wait until after the next election to receive super on paid parental leave is an outrage. This is a government that said that they were meant to be for women, but they keep making us wait for some small positive improvements. I've got some other amendments that go to the broader reforms that actually women and young parents and all parents deserve, which would extend out the amount and the length of PPL that can be taken, but this particular amendment just says, 'Stop making women wait for next year.' You're not making nuclear submarines wait. You didn't make the wealthy men wait for their tax cut, even though you amended it. Why are women waiting? So I commend these amendments to the chamber.

Malarndirri McCarthy

The government does not support these amendments. The government has announced it will pay superannuation on government funded paid parental leave from next year. The reason for this is to help normalise parental leave as a workplace entitlement like annual and sick leave.

Larissa Waters

Normalise it now!

Malarndirri McCarthy

I understand your passion here, Senator Waters, but I will get to that. It is about annual and sick leave and reducing the impact of parental leave on retirement incomes. This is the first time the government will be paying superannuation on a government payment. A start date of 1 July 2025 will allow us to get this right. This is not a straightforward legislative change, and it will involve significant change to PPL, income tax and superannuation legislation. It also requires significant systems changes across Services Australia and the ATO. It's not clear how these amendments from the Greens would operate in practice, including how PPL recipients would be paid their super, given the lack of clarity in these amendments.

Including superannuation as a part of this bill is not practical. Not only could it affect the successful implementation of paying super on PPL, but it could also jeopardise the timely passage of this bill. The timely passage of this bill is critical for expecting parents to be able to start to pre-claim from the end of March. Under the Paid Parental Leave Act, families are able to pre-claim up to three months ahead of their expected due date so that, from the parents' end, the administration is settled before the baby arrives. Around two thirds of families choose to pre-claim. So I just would like to say to the Greens that the government wants to get super on PPL right. Don't hold up this important bill, which extends PPL to 22 weeks from 1 July this year, 24 weeks from July 2025 and 26 weeks from July 2026.

Penny Allman-Payne

The question is that Australian Greens requests (1) and (2) on Sheet 2062 for amendments be agreed to.

Summary

Date and time: 11:38 AM on 2024-03-18
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 12
Total number of "no" votes: 28
Total number of abstentions: 36
Related bill: Paid Parental Leave Amendment (More Support for Working Families) Bill 2023

Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au