'Paymaster' concept a nightmare for retailers

RETAILERS could have a ‘consuming administrative nightmare’ on their hands if legislation proposing companies act as ‘paymasters’ for Federal Government-funded parental leave payments is passed.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) submitted a paper rejecting the motion at a Senate hearing last month, which intended to implement the new structure from January next year.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman, says the industry welcomes the 18 week government-funded paid parental leave scheme, but sees no sense in retailers acting as the conduit to transfer money between Centrelink and the employee.

“Under the current proposed paid parental leave initiative, government agencies will make payments direct to eligible employees for the first six months of the scheme before employers take over the role of ‘paymaster’,” says Zimmerman.

“For a small retailer, administering government parental leave payments means upgrading payroll systems, seeking professional advice from accountants and employment relations specialists, managing wages without normal benefits likes superannuation and work cover.

“All these operational changes create more red tape for retailers who are already dealing with major industrial relations changes.”

Zimmerman says retailers are welcoming the paid parental scheme, but it shouldn’t come at a cost to employers.

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