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 during the PPL period, e.g. because of returning to work before receiving their full PPL period entitlement, they may be able to transfer the balance to another eligible person who has become the primary carer of the child. The new caregiver is a secondary claimant (1.1.S.30).
Primary claimants of children born or entrusted to care as part of an adoption process on or after 1 July 2020, can also give permission for another person to claim some or all of their flexible PPL days. Secondary claimants need to be the primary carer on the day and meet other eligibility requirements.
The main categories of secondary claimants 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 18.104.22.168.
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 primary claimant 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.
The secondary claimant must also satisfy Centrelink that they are, or will be primary carer of the child on a day flexible PPL is being claimed, and that the primary claimant will not be the primary carer of the child on that day, and that the secondary claimant meets the eligibility criteria on that day. The primary claimant must also have given permission (22.214.171.124) for a secondary claimant to claim a specified number of flexible PPL days.
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 (126.96.36.199).
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 an effective claim for PLP unless the primary claimant has already made a claim for PLP before the child's first birthday
- be eligible for PLP unless the primary claimant has lodged a claim and is found eligible or conditionally eligible for PLP before the child's first birthday, and
- be paid a PPL period unless the primary claimant is payable or has made their claim for a PPL period at the same time the secondary claim is made and would have been payable except they have requested that the full PPL period 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 PPL period to the secondary claimant.
A secondary claimant can receive all or part of a PPL period for a child only if they receive the payment in a continuous block following the primary claimants PPL period. Once a PPL period has been transferred it cannot be transferred back. 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 the PPL period, 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.
If a primary claimant intends on transferring all or part of their flexible PPL days to a secondary claimant, they can do so any time up to the child's second birthday in blocks as small as a day at a time by providing a permission for a secondary claimant to make a claim for a specified number of flexible days of up to 30. A secondary claimant must specify the flexible PPL days being claimed in their claim form. A secondary claimant must be the primary carer and meet other eligibility requirements on each flexible PPL day they claim.
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 of the transfer of entitlement of a PPL period to a secondary claimant takes effect, no further eligibility criteria apply to the primary claimant in relation to the PPL period - 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.
For flexible PPL days, ongoing eligibility criteria which would otherwise cease after the transfer of a PPL period to a secondary claimant would continue to apply to a primary claimant in relation to any flexible days claimed by the primary claimant.
Act reference: PPLAct section 31 When a person is eligible for PLP on a day other than a flexible PPL day for a child, section 31AA When a person is eligible for PLP on a flexible PPL day for a child, section 54 Who can make a primary claim, secondary claim or tertiary claim, section 17D Permission to claim flexible PPL days for a child
PPL Rules Part 2-3 Eligibility for PLP, Part 2-4 Claims for PLP