1.1.R.50 Returns to work

Definition

For the purposes of PLP, a person returns to work on a day that is on or after the birth of a child if, on that day, the person performs one hour or more of paid work (1.1.P.20) other than for a permissible purpose (1.1.P.140).

A person who returns to work other than for a permissible purpose will not be eligible to receive PLP in the PPL period from that day.

A person may still be eligible for PLP on flexible PPL days after a return to work, noting that a person must not be performing more than one hour of paid work other than for a permissible purpose in order to be eligible on a flexible PPL day. See 2.2.1.30 for the rules regarding performing paid work on a flexible PPL day.

Exceptions to the return to work rule for a PPL period

There are exceptions to the return to work rule:

  • A primary claimant may still be eligible to receive PLP in their PPL period after returning to work where the child is stillborn (1.1.S.90) or has died before that day.
  • A primary claimant, who is the birth mother of the child, may still be eligible to receive PLP in their PPL period after returning to work where the child is required to remain in hospital after birth or is hospitalised immediately after their birth (2.2.13).
  • A secondary claimant, who is the father of the child or a partner of the birth mother or a partner of the father of the child, may still be eligible to receive PLP in the PPL period after returning to work where the child is required to remain in hospital after birth or is hospitalised immediately after their birth (2.2.13).
  • A primary, secondary or tertiary claimant who is a defence force member or law enforcement officer may still be eligible to receive PLP in the PPL period after returning to work if they performed paid work on a day because they were compulsorily recalled to duty (1.1.R.05).
  • A primary, secondary or tertiary claimant may still be eligible to receive PLP in the PPL period after returning to work in the event that they performed paid work on a day because they complied with the requirements of a summons or other compulsory process (1.1.S.95).
  • A primary, secondary or tertiary claimant who has lost care of their child under certain circumstances (1.1.L.30) may still be eligible to receive PLP in the PPL period after returning to work.
  • A secondary claimant in exceptional circumstances may still be eligible to receive PLP in the PPL period if they perform paid work on a day that is after the child has stopped being in the care of the primary claimant, and Centrelink is satisfied that the day is within a period that is reasonable in the circumstances for the claimant to make arrangements in relation to work and care for the child (1.1.T.100).
  • A tertiary claimant may still be eligible to receive PLP in the PPL period if they perform paid work on a day that is after the child has stopped being in the care of the secondary claimant, and Centrelink is satisfied that the day is within a period that is reasonable in the circumstances for the claimant to make arrangements in relation to work and care for the child (1.1.T.100).
  • A primary, secondary or tertiary claimant who is a health professional, emergency services worker or other essential worker (1.1.E.95) may still be eligible to receive PLP in the PPL period if they return to work in response to a state, territory or national emergency.

Example 1: Jessica works in a spirit distillery and is currently on maternity leave and 10 weeks into her 18 weeks of continuous PLP, consisting of a 12-week PPL period and 30 flexible PPL days. Due to COVID-19, Jessica was asked to come back to work to help in the production of alcohol based hand sanitiser due to mass shortage across Australia. As the goods her company produced were considered essential in responding to the nationally declared emergency in response to COVID-19, her return to work is not counted, and she will continue to be paid the remaining 8 weeks of her PLP, despite working.

Example 2: Harman works as a veterinarian at a wildlife hospital in her home town of rural Victoria. Harman commenced maternity leave in August and plans to take the full 12-week PPL period before returning to work and then 30 flexible PPL days at a later stage before her child turns 2. Harman is 7 weeks into her PPL period when Victoria declares a state emergency in response to a bushfire threat which has become out of control in the region. As Harman's profession is considered essential in response to the bushfire emergency, Harman is able to return to work without forfeiting the remaining 5 weeks of her PPL period. Harman is still able to claim her 30 flexible PPL days at a later time.

Example 3: Georgie works in the defence force as a combat officer. Georgie is currently on maternity leave and plans to take her full 18 weeks of PLP at a later stage. Georgie is eight weeks into her maternity leave when she is compulsorily recalled to duty in response to a terrorist attack. As Georgie is compulsorily recalled to duty, she is able to return to work without forgoing her entitlement to PLP.

Example 4: Miley is self-employed operating her own business as a beautician. Miley is currently on maternity leave and plans to take 18 weeks of continuous PLP, including a 12-week PPL period and 30 flexible PPL days. Three weeks into Miley's 12-week PPL period, a state emergency is declared due to a natural disaster. During this time, Miley decides to return to work due to a high customer demand for waxing services. As Miley's beautician services are not considered essential in response to the state emergency, Miley forfeits the remaining 9 weeks of her PPL Period. However, Miley can still take 30 flexible PPL days at a later stage as she is allowed to have periods of work in between her payable flexible PPL days.

Act reference: PPLAct section 6 The Dictionary, section 31 When a person is eligible for PLP on a day other than a flexible PPL day for a child, section 48 When a person returns to work (PLP)

PPL Rules Part 2 Eligibility for PLP

Policy reference: PPL Guide 2.2.13 Return to work & when paid work is for a permissible purpose for PLP, 2.2.2.40 Activities considered as 'work' for PLP

Last reviewed: 10 May 2021