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Keeping in touch provisions do not apply to employees with a child born or adopted from 1 July 2023. Any days they work for one hour or more will be considered a workday. This means that your employee can’t get Parental Leave Pay on those workdays except for allowable reasons.
Purpose of keeping in touch
Employees with a child born or adopted before 1 July 2023 may lose their Paid Parental Leave period if they return to work early. Keeping in touch allows these employees to instead remain connected to their workplace and helps them transition back into work.
Your employee can access up to 10 keeping in touch days without losing their entitlement to Parental Leave Pay. This is from the time they become their child’s primary carer until they return to work.
You and your employee must both agree to take part in a keeping in touch activity. Either party can decide they don’t want the keeping in touch activity to take place.
Your employee can’t access a keeping in touch day within the first 2 weeks after their child is born or adopted.
If your employee requests or suggests a day that’s more than 2 weeks after the birth or adoption, they can participate. This is as long as you agree.
Your employee’s Paid Parental Leave period will stop if both of the following apply:
- they return to work before the end of their Paid Parental Leave period, except for allowable reasons
- the work is for any purpose other than keeping in touch.
They can’t access keeping in touch days after they’ve returned to work.
Your employee can’t access more than 10 keeping in touch days on days they get Parental Leave Pay. If they do more keeping in touch days, we’ll consider they’ve returned to work.
Activities for keeping in touch
For the purpose of keeping in touch, one hour or more of paid work activity counts as one day. This counts towards the 10 day limit.
Paid work activities covered under keeping in touch
A paid work activity for the purpose of keeping in touch should help your employee to do any of the following:
- refresh their skills
- transition back into the workplace
- become familiar with new or updated processes
- take part in forward planning discussions or meetings that may affect their role.
For example, your employee could do any of the following:
- participate in a planning meeting
- participate in training
- perform work to become familiar with the workplace or their role before returning to work.
You and your employee need to agree on the type of paid work activity they’ll do on the day.
Work activities not covered under keeping in touch
Your employee can participate in a workplace activity they’re not entitled to get any payment or benefit for. The activity won’t count as a keeping in touch day or a return to work.
For example, keeping in touch doesn’t stop your employee voluntarily attending the workplace to do any of the following:
- visit colleagues
- participate in social events
- undertake other unpaid activities at work, such as checking emails while on a social visit to the workplace.
Your employee may participate in paid work for reasons other than to assist their transition back to the workplace. In these situations, we’ll consider them as returning to work. For example, resuming regular paid work or doing a day’s work to cover an absent employee. This means they cannot get Parental Leave Pay on this day. If this day is before the end of their Paid Parental Leave period it will end.
There are some exceptions if your employee returns to work early for other allowable reasons.
Keeping in touch when you’re self-employed
If you’re self-employed, you can check on your business. We won’t consider you to have returned to work. There’s more information for families about checking on your business when you’re self-employed.
Key elements of keeping in touch
You must pay your employee for the work they perform on a keeping in touch day.
Your employee can’t get paid leave and perform paid work at the same time. If your employee accesses a keeping in touch day while on paid leave, you may need to either:
- extend their period of paid leave
- credit back the paid leave.
Accessing a keeping in touch day while on unpaid parental leave won’t extend your employee’s unpaid parental leave period.
Work performed on a keeping in touch day will count as service and may have implications for your employee’s entitlements. For example their leave accrual.
Read about keeping in touch under the Fair Work Act 2009. It’s available on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
You don’t need to notify us or keep formal records of keeping in touch activities. However, having a record of the agreed arrangements in place before the keeping in touch activity occurs is both:
- best practice
- in the interests of you and your employee.
Get the Employer Toolkit
The Employer Toolkit is your complete guide to the Paid Parental Leave scheme and what you need to do.