4 Quarterly 2012 - Issue 1

Posted on 13 November 2012

Paid Parental Leave for Dads

On 1 January 2011 the Paid Parental Leave scheme began. This allowed eligible working parents 18 weeks Parental Leave Pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage.

Additional to this, in June 2012 the scheme was extended and legislation passed through Parliament to now include Dad and Partner Pay.

The scheme will begin on 1 January 2013 and will see eligible, working dads or partners, including both adopting parents and same-sex couples, gain access to two weeks government-funded Dad and Partner Pay. The amount paid will be set at the rate of the national minimum wage.

Financial assistance will be available to eligible full-time, part-time, casual, contract, seasonal and self-employed workers from the Dad and Partner Pay which is designed to create opportunities for dads or partners to bond with their children and support their partner following birth or adoption.

To ascertain your eligibility for Parental Leave, visit the Family Assistance Office website. You will need to register for the leave in the same way as you would register for the existing Paid Parental Leave scheme. For employers, it will be administered the same as regular Paid Parental Leave. Call us for further details.

Keeping in Touch Days

In addition to the updates to Paid Parental Leave referred to above, there is a further initiative available called “keeping in touch days” for parents on parental leave. The features of the “Keeping in Touch” initiative include:

  • Up to 10 days of paid work prior to formally returning to work from parental leave
  • Enables employees to “keep in touch” with the workplace and assist their transition back to work by: refreshing skills, becoming familiar with new and updated processes and being involved in discussions or meetings that may affect their role on return to work.
  • Both employer and employee must consent to the work
  • The work must not be undertaken within 14 days of the birth or placement of a child
  • The work must not extend the period of the employee’s unpaid parental leave
  • Employees participating in paid work other than keeping in touch days prior to the end of his or her Paid Parental Leave period will have the Parental Leave Pay stopped
  • Keeping in Touch days will count as service and will affect employee’s entitlements such as leave accrual.

Vehicle Registration - Shared Responsibility for Owner & Driver

Driving an unregistered vehicle on a public roadway is illegal. An unregistered vehicle also means it has no current CTP insurance.

So, who is responsible for vehicle registration and what are the ramifications for a driver if they are fined for driving an unregistered vehicle?

If a vehicle is driven on a public road, the driver of the vehicle must ensure it has up to date registration. Failure to do so attracts three fines for the driver, not the owner, of that vehicle. They are: 1. Driving an unregistered vehicle - $596; 2. Driving an uninsured vehicle - $596; 3. Not paying road tax - $596.

If the matter goes to court, the maximum fi ne for driving an unregistered vehicle on a public road is $2200 plus $5500 for driving an uninsured vehicle. If you drive any car which is unregistered, you will be liable for the fine if you are pulled over by police. Whilst it is the owner’s responsibility to register their vehicle, it is the drivers responsibility to ensure the car they are driving is registered.

From 1 January 2013 light vehicles will not have to display registration labels. If you are concerned a vehicle you may need to drive or are being asked to drive may not be registered, you can do a Free Registration Check on the RMS website or you can phone the RMS contact centre on 13 22 13.

Making the Interest Rate Cut Work for You

Although the most recent meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia caused no change to the interest rates, the October meeting saw the RBA bowing to pressure in the face of a worsening outlook for the global economy by announcing a cut to official interest rates of 25 basis points to 3.25 per cent. This is the lowest rate in three years.

With rates still very low, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the opportunities available. We have listed a few tips to get you started.

1) Use the extra savings wisely

2) Consider keeping your repayments at the same level to reduce your loan principle amount

3) Consider investing in the property market

4) Have a mortgage broker assess the health of your loan to make sure you can’t get a better deal

Remember to seek assistance from your professional advisors when making important life and financial decisions.