220.127.116.11 Permissible Break for PLP
A break between consecutive working days in the work test period will be a permissible break (1.1.P.130) where it was between 2 days on which a person performed qualifying work, and the break was no more than 56 consecutive days (8 weeks) in length.
For children born or entrusted to care as part of an adoption process on or after 1 March 2014, a person can count the days in their previous period of PLP and/or DAPP (for a previous child) as qualifying work for a new claim.
There are 2 situations when a break can be considered a permissible break. The first is where the break occurred between 2 work days in the work test period (i.e. in the 392 days before the expected or actual DOB, or the day the person becomes the child's primary carer) and the break is not more than 56 days.
Example 1: Jane is expecting to give birth to a child on 13 January 2011. Jane's 392 day work test period commences on 17 December 2009. Jane did not work on this day, but she worked on 1 December 2009 and then worked on 31 December 2009 and thereafter for a continuous period up to 13 October 2010. To satisfy the work test, Jane needs to establish a qualifying period of 295 consecutive days between the start of the work test period on 17 December 2009 and when she ceased work on 13 October 2010. As Jane had performed qualifying work on 1 December 2009 and on 31 December 2009 and as the period between these dates was less than 56 days in length, Jane can be considered to have been on a permissible break between the start of the work test period on 17 December 2009, and the day she performed qualifying work on 31 December 2009. As a permissible break can count towards the work test, Jane is considered to have worked 301 days between 17 December 2009 and 13 October 2010. Therefore, providing the requirement for 330 hours of qualifying work is met, and there are no gaps of more than 56 days between any consecutive working days, Jane would meet the work test, as the period of qualifying work performed during the work test period is at least 295 consecutive days.
In the example above, Jane's hours worked on 1 December 2009 do not count towards requirement for 330 hours or the 295 consecutive days as this day is only to establish that a period within the work test period was a permissible break and provide some flexibility in circumstances where the claimant does not work on the start day of the 13 month work test period.
The second situation is where there was a break between 2 consecutive working days and the break started before, and ended after, the start of the work test period. In this situation, providing the period between the 2 work days was no longer than 56 days, the period from the beginning of the work test period until the first working day in the work test period can be considered to be a permissible break, and this period can be considered towards the qualifying period of 295 consecutive days.
Example 2: Salima is expecting to give birth to her first child on 12 December 2012. Salima's 392 day work test period starts on 15 November 2011. Salima finishes her job on 2 December 2011, and does not start work in another job until 6 February 2012, a break of more than 56 days. Salima then works every week from 6 February until 30 November 2012, a period of 300 consecutive days. The break between working days that occurred early in the work test period is not a permissible break as it was a break of more than 56 days. The break does not affect Salima's eligibility for PLP because there was still a qualifying period of at least 295 consecutive days in the work test period where Salima performed qualifying work or had a permissible break, i.e. weekends off work.
A break of more than 56 days between 2 consecutive working days is considered not to be a permissible break.
Example 3: Maria is expecting to give birth to her second child on 7 July 2012. Maria's 392 day work test period commences on 10 June 2011. To prepare for the baby's arrival in July Maria took unpaid leave from 12 December 2011 until 13 February 2012. From 13 February 2012 until 22 June 2012 Maria returned to work, 3 days a week. The break between working days in December 2011 and February 2012 was more than 56 days, therefore it was not a permissible break.
In the example above, as there was no period of qualifying work performed during the work test period of at least 295 consecutive days (including permissible breaks), the claimant will not met the work test requirements and will not be eligible for PLP.
Act reference: PPLAct Part 2-3 Division 3 The work test, Part 2-3 Division 7 Return to work, section 36 When there is a permissible break, section 34 Where a person performs qualifying work