2.2.11 Who is a Secondary Claimant for PLP?
In general, an eligible primary carer (1.1.P.230) of a child who is a PLP primary claimant (1.1.P.250) will care for the child for the full 18 weeks of PLP. If a primary claimant ceases to be the primary carer, e.g. because of returning to work before receiving all of their 18 weeks entitlement, they may be able to transfer the balance of their PLP to another elibible person who has become the primary carer of the child. The new caregiver is a secondary claimant (1.1.S.30).
The main categories of secondary claimant are the current partner of the primary claimant, the other legal parent of the child or the current partner of the other legal parent of the child. A change in the primary carer of the child to someone outside these categories, e.g. to a more distant relative of the primary claimant such as an aunt, or grandmother, will not trigger a transfer of remaining PLP, except where exceptional circumstances (1.1.E.100) apply, as prescribed by the PPL Rules and specified in 184.108.40.206.
A secondary claim is possible only where there is an eligible primary claimant. An eligible secondary claimant is entitled only to the portion of a primary claimant's PLP that the latter has not received, which, in certain circumstances may be as much as the full 18 weeks of entitlement.
Secondary claimants are not eligible in their own right as a primary claimant for PLP.
The secondary claimant must satisfy Centrelink that they are, or will become the primary carer of the child from a particular date which falls within the maximum PPL period (1.1.P.200) for the primary claimant, and that the primary claimant will no longer be the primary carer of the child from that date, and that the secondary claimant meets the eligibility criteria.
Partner, other legal parent or their partner
Usually the secondary claimant is the birth mother's partner and the father of the child, who meets the eligibility requirements and who then becomes the primary carer of the child and a secondary claimant for PLP purposes.
For the purposes of secondary claims, the birth mother's partner or the partner of a primary claimant adoptive parent, the other legal parent (if this is not the birth mother's partner or partner of the primary claimant adoptive parent) and the partner of the other legal parent are treated in the same manner.
While the secondary claimant generally will be the father of the child and partner of the birth mother primary claimant, the PPL Rules specify the exceptional circumstances in which it is possible for any person, regardless of their relationship to the primary claimant or the child, to be the secondary claimant.
The exceptional circumstances criteria apply also to the primary claimant's partner, other legal parent or their partner, should they not meet the eligibility requirements to be the secondary claimant in normal circumstances (220.127.116.11).
Child stillborn or dies
Where the child was stillborn or has died prior to the physical transfer of care occurring, transfer of PLP is still possible where Centrelink decides that the transfer should occur. Generally, this will be where the parties had intended, prior to the still birth or death, that the transfer would occur, and still wish this to occur.
Primary claimants must be payable before secondary claims can be determined
A primary claimant is the main claimant for PLP purposes. This means that a secondary claimant cannot:
- make a claim unless the primary claimant has already done so,
- be eligible for PLP unless the primary claimant has lodged a claim and is eligible, and
- be paid PLP unless the primary claimant is payable or has made their claim at the same time the secondary claim is made and would have been payable except they have requested that the full 18 weeks of PLP be paid to the secondary claimant.
PLP start day for secondary claims
Only a primary claimant may nominate a start date for the PPL period. This applies even if the primary claimant intends to transfer the full 18 weeks of PLP to the secondary claimant.
Secondary claimant eligibility for PLP in respect of a child may arise on a particular day within the maximum PPL period (1.1.M.20) for the primary claimant, as the result of a change in primary carer for that child on and from that day. In order to establish entitlement to PLP, the secondary claimant must have become the primary carer of the child on the day after the primary claimant ceased to provide such care, i.e. this must be a continuous block of care transitioning from one carer to another without any breaks.
The secondary claimant must be eligible for PLP for the days in their PPL period starting from the first day that they were the child's primary carer.
The PPL Rules provide for minor variations relating to temporary inability to care (1.1.T.50), loss of care for child (1.1.L.30), recall to duty (1.1.R.05) and, for claims made in exceptional circumstances, working while care arrangements are being settled (1.1.W.55).
Primary claimant eligibility no longer relevant
From the date the transfer of entitlement to PLP to a secondary claimant takes effect, no further eligibility criteria apply to the primary claimant - even the ongoing eligibility criteria which otherwise apply to a primary claimant cease to apply. If the primary claimant returns to work, or ceases to be residentially qualified because they move permanently overseas or otherwise, the secondary claimant's eligibility will determine if they can be paid the primary claimant's unused PLP.
Act reference: PPLAct section 31 When a person is eligible for PLP, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim
Paid Parental Leave Rules 2010 Part 2-3 Eligibility for parental leave pay, Part 2-4 Claims for parental leave pay
Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.1 PLP Eligibility Overview