Keeping in touch

The federal government has moved to allow “keeping in touch” days for employees on parental leave to attend work without losing their entitlement to parental leave under the National Employment Standards (NES).

The way the NES is structured, employees must have their parental leave in one straight, unbroken stretch. Technically, if an employee attends work as part of a keeping in touch program, they would not be complying with the NES. This new legislation changes that situation to make it clear that a keeping in touch day does not affect the overall leave entitlement.

There is no legal requirement  for an employer to provide an employee on parental leave with keeping in touch days, they are a matter of agreement between the employer and employee. Generally speaking they are paid days and cannot be accessed within 14 days of the birth of a baby in the case of female employee on parental leave.

The anomaly in the NES is to be rectified by an amendment to the Fair Work Act which is expected to take effect from 1st October 2012.