Keeping in touch days
Changes to the Australian Government Parental Leave Pay Scheme
From 1 July 2020, eligible employees can split their Parental Leave Pay (PLP) so they take it over 2 periods within 2 years.
Employees are able to claim PLP for 1 set period and 1 flexible period. The first period of PLP is available for up to 12 continuous weeks, within 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child. The second period of PLP is flexible and available for up to 30 days, usually starting after the first period ends and finishing within 24 months of a child’s birth or adoption.
To learn more, go to Changes to the Parental Leave Pay Scheme.
Keeping in touch days allow an employee who is still on unpaid parental leave to go back to work for a few days.
This is a good way for employees who are caring for a baby or newly adopted child to stay up to date with their workplace, refresh their skills and assist their return to work.
Work on a keeping in touch day may include:
- participating in a planning day
- doing training or
- attending a conference.
There are some rules about the type of work that can be done on these days. Visit the Department of Human Services website for more information.
Number of keeping in touch days
An employee on unpaid parental leave gets 10 keeping in touch days. This doesn't affect their unpaid parental leave entitlement.
If the employee extends their period of unpaid parental leave beyond 12 months, they can take an additional 10 days.
When keeping in touch days can be worked
Keeping in touch days can be worked:
- as a part day
- 1 day at a time
- a few days at a time, or
- all at once.
A keeping in touch day can be worked at least 42 days after the birth of a child or adoption. It can only be earlier if the employee requests it. If a request is made, a keeping in touch day can't be worked earlier than 14 days after the birth or adoption. The employer and employee have to agree to the keeping in touch days.
An employee doesn't have to use keeping in touch days if they don't wish to.
Payment for keeping in touch days
An employee gets their normal wage for each keeping in touch day or part day.
Example: Payment for a keeping in touch day to assist with a return to work
Georgia has taken 12 months unpaid leave to look after her newly adopted son. During this time, her workplace gets a new computer system and everyone needs training in how to use it.
To help Georgia's transition back into work after her leave, her manager Alex asks if she'd like to come in for a keeping in touch day. This means Georgia can do the training with everyone else. Georgia agrees and is paid her normal wage for coming to work.
To practice her new skills, she asks Alex if she can come in for a keeping in touch day once a month for 6 months. Alex agrees.
Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.79a
Need help resolving workplace issues about pregnancy, parental leave and returning to work?
If you’ve lost your job, contact the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) first if you think you were sacked because of:
- a reason that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable
- another protected right.
You have 21 days from the day you were sacked to lodge an application with the Commission. Check the information at the Commission website to find out if you can apply for:
For employees and employers:
- Find information, downloadable guides and toolkits on pregnancy, parental leave and parents in the workplace on the Supporting working parents
- Learn about discrimination and bullying and harassment and what can be done to stop it.
- If you think a mistake has been made about pay, parental leave or returning to work, see our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:
- figuring out if a mistake has been made
- talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
- getting help from us if you still can’t resolve it.
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