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A guide to Parental Leave Pay in Australia – are you eligible?

Paid parental leave for newborn baby in parents handsIn Australia, eligible parents can access 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay following the birth or adoption of their baby.

The Paid Parental Leave scheme was introduced in 2011 to help working parents spend more time at home with a new baby in those vital early months. It is fully government-funded.

The scheme provides eligible parents with up to 18 weeks’ of Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage. The amount is currently $719.35 a week before tax (correct as of July 2018).

But how do you know if you’re eligible for Parental Leave Pay? How much do you need to work before your baby is born? Are casual and part-time workers eligible? And what about Dad and Partner Pay – will your partner be eligible to receive this as well?

Here we answer your questions about Parental Leave Pay in Australia …

Who is eligible for Parental Leave Pay?

To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay you must:

  • be the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child
  • have worked 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child, and
    330 hours in that 10 month period (just more than one day a week) with no more than an 8-week gap between two consecutive working days. You may be eligible if you work full-time, part-time, casually, seasonally, as a contractor or for yourself.
  • meet the Paid Parental Leave income test – have received an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year either before the date of birth or adoption, or the date you claim, whichever is earlier.
  • be on leave or not working from the time you become your child’s primary carer until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period.

How much money will you receive in Parental Leave Pay?

Parental Leave Pay is currently $719.35 a week before tax for a maximum of 18 weeks (amount correct as of July 2018).

It is a taxable payment – which means it may affect your existing family assistance entitlements, child support arrangements and tax obligations.

UPDATE: The so-called ‘double-dipping’ law was not passed – so you are able to access PPL even if your employer also offers paid maternity leave.

How is the Parental Leave Pay paid to you?

Parental Leave Pay can be paid to you by your employer or directly from the government.

Usually your employer will receive the amount from the government and then pay it to you in your usual pay cycle. This allows them to withhold your usual amount of tax and allow for any other payments or contributions that you regularly make (super, salary sacrifice etc).

In some circumstances, the government may opt to pay you directly — for example, if you’re no longer employed, if you’re self-employed or if you or your partner receive an income support payment from Centrelink.

You should begin talking to your employer about Parental Leave Pay at least 10 weeks before the date you intend to start your leave.

How much leave are you entitled to?

The scheme provides you with 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay but does not give you an entitlement to leave. You need to work out your maternity leave entitlements with your employer as it is based on how long you’ve worked for them and any company policies they have. Make sure you have this conversation with at least 10 weeks’ notice.

Can you do any work while you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay?

If you return to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period you are no longer eligible to receive the payment.

However, there is a provision in the scheme that allows you to keep in touch with your employer and ease your transition back into the workplace. The Keeping In Touch provision allows you to access 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days while you are receiving Parental Leave Pay. A paid work activity of ONE hour or more on a day counts as ONE Keeping in Touch day, and counts towards the 10-day limit.

Your employer is required to pay you for your time. But a Keeping in Touch day won’t affect your Parental Leave Pay payments and won’t extend your leave. It should be to:

  • refresh your skills
  • transition back to the workplace
  • become familiar with new or updated processes, or
  • be involved in planning discussions or meetings that may affect your role

If you run your own business you cannot return to actively running it – performing the daily operations – while you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay. You can, however, before basic occasional tasks to ensure it remains operational, this includes things such as organise a repair, pay an account, check on a delivery order, manage a dispute and maintain basic contact with clients.

What about if you don’t work – is there a payment for non-working mums?

The Baby Bonus was scrapped in 2014 but you may be eligible for the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement. This payment is available to parents who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A.

The Newborn Upfront Payment is a lump sum of $550 (correct as of July 2018).

The Newborn Supplement amount depends on your income and how many children you have. The maximum amount is $1,649.83 for your first child or a maximum of $550.55 for subsequent children (amounts correct as of July 2018). This amount is added to your Family Tax Benefit Part A as a supplement so you’ll receive fortnightly if that’s how you’ve chosen to receive Family Tax A.

READ: Our guide to government family benefit payments for info on all government family benefits

Can your partner access the Dad and Partner Pay?

Eligible dads or partners can access two weeks of government-funded pay after the birth of a baby or adoption of a child.

To be eligible the dad or partner must:

  • provide care for a newborn or recently adopted child
  • meet an income test
  • have worked at least 10 of the 13 months before the date their Dad and Partner Pay period starts, and 330 hours in that 10 month period (just more than a day a week) with no more than an 8 week gap between two consecutive working days
  • be on unpaid leave or not working while getting the payment
  • make a claim within 52 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption

Dad and Partner Pay is $$719.35 a week before tax (correct as of July 2018). The government pays the money into a nominated bank account after the child is born and the claim finalised.

Dad and Partner Pay does not change leave entitlements and your partner should check with their employer as to what leave they are entitled to.

 

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This article is intended as a general guide to Parental Leave Pay and other family benefit payments in Australia. To check your eligibility based on your own circumstances contact the Department of Human Services.

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856 comments so far -

  1. Hi, Thank you for this thread as it’s really helpful. I have a querry and I hope you that you will be able to help me, I am pregnant with my third child and due on February 20, 2019, I started working January 15, 2018 and have to finished November 14, 2018 as I worked in a University boarding house whereas all students has to leave for their year end break, will I still be able to avail PPL? Thank you.

  2. hi, thanks for this great thread. I am due on Feb 2019 so when they say “adjusted taxable income in the financial year before the birth or adoption or the date you lodge your claim, whichever is earlier” for me would that be the Jul 2017 to Jun 2018 tax financial year’s income as that is earlier. So I should have earned less than 150K in that year ? Is this correct ?

    • Hi im a bit confused as well. My employer pays for 10 weeks of maternity leave at my regular wage. Am i still eligible for PPL from gov on top of that for 18 weeks? Thanks for your help 🙂

      • Hi Steph!

        Thanks for your question! Yes — you can still be eligible for the Government’s Parental Leave Pay even if your employer offers some paid maternity leave too.

        The only thing is that I’ve heard of employers paying LESS if they employee receives the government PPL so I’d check your workplace policies to make sure they pay the full amount regardless of whether or not you’re eligible for PPL.

        Hope this helps!

        All the best x

        — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  3. I am really confused about the Paid Parental Leave scheme and have a query I’m hoping you can help me with?

    My baby is due 26th December 2018 and I stopped work on October 6th 2018. I found out three weeks before finishing work that I had Gestational Diabetes so was thankful that I was finishing early as I needed the space to look after myself. I definitely would have worked 330 hours as I worked full time and then dropped a day or two as I got later in my pregnancy but because I finished so early does this mean I am unable to get the paid leave?

    As I found out I had an illness after I had already decided to finish work anyway is it impossible to receive the leave entitlements? So confused?
    I don’t think my employer will write a letter stating that I was ill as I didn’t tell them as I was already finishing work.

    Appreciate any advice xx

    • Hi there! Congrats on your pregnancy and thanks for your question.

      If you’re confused you’re certainly not alone!

      I can’t say for sure what I think because I don’t know when you started work. So to give you some sort of answer, I’m going to assume that you’ve been working at this job for a while.

      So, to meet the work test you need to work for 10 months within the 13 months before your baby’s due date. Within those 10 months you must have worked for 330 hours and you cannot have more than eight weeks unpaid between two consecutive work days.

      For you, your 13 month period began on November 26 2017. I’m going to assume that you were working at this time. If you start your 10 month period from this same date, it ends on September 26 2018. At which time you were still working according to your dates. If that is all true for you then I am fairly sure you’ll meet the work test as you’ll have worked for those 10 months within the 13. And you’ve done the 330 hours.

      I hope I’m correct, but I’m not an expert though so you’ll have to check all this with Centrelink. And of course this is with me assuming that you’ve worked for the entire time.

      Please feel free to ask more questions if you need.

      All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  4. Hello! I really need some help. I have 2 casual jobs, one that I would have worked over 12 months but have not got enough hours up for parental leave (bub is due March 2019) I recently got a second casual job to get up my hours, will this still be ok in the 330 hours as its a new job but other job I have been there for a longer period.

    Thank you

    • Hi Leesh! Congrats on your pregnancy and thanks for the question.

      The simple answer is yes — you can still be eligible for Parental Leave Pay even if your hours are from two (or more) separate jobs.

      However I just wanted to make sure you’re calculating things correctly because you’ll need to have 330 hours within 10 months (not 12). The rule is that you have to have worked for 10 months within the 13 months before your baby’s due date. So for you the 13 month period is (without knowing exact dates) February 2018 – March 2019. And the 10 months is any period within that where you’ll reach the criteria.

      I hope that makes sense! Please feel free to ask more questions if you need.

      All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  5. I have a question regarding income. I have had a high income in the financial year just gone – taxable income of $141,000. on top of that, I also had some exempt FBT. Do they add a percentage of the exempt FBT on top of my taxable income. im worried this will get me over the $150,000.
    Im due in March 2019 and I know in this financial year my income will be a lot lower. if im unsure can I apply after 1st july 2019 with my lower income.

    • Hi Michelle! Thanks for your question and congrats on your pregnancy.

      Unfortunately I don’t think I have very good news for you.

      To answer your last question first, I think if you apply after July 2019 they will still go by 2017/18 financial year. This is how they word it: you need to have “earned an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year before the birth or adoption or the date you lodge your claim, whichever is earlier”.

      And I’m afraid they do look at what is called the ‘Adjusted Taxable Income’ where they add things back on such as investment losses and reportable fringe benefits. I don’t know much about tax and fringe benefits so I’m unsure what ‘exempt FBT’ speficically is and whether it is different from ‘reportable fringe benefits’. So I’d definitely check this out if I were you. Here’s some info from the Centrelink site on adjusted taxable income: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/enablers/what-adjusted-taxable-income/29571

      I wish I had better news for you. Please check this all with Centrelink — I hope I’m wrong!!

      Please feel free to ask more questions if you need.

      All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  6. Hi just wondering becuase is not clear in any website. I work in a child care a an educator. I’m planing to work part time next year and also fall pregnant, in that case, do I still get paid maternity leave for $715 per week from Centrelink if I comply with all the requirements like work for 13 months with the employer and tax money? Im wondering because as a part time (30 hours per week, is this consider part time?), my salary will be less than the amount centrelink pay. Is it ok to receive $715? Another thing is that in the previous year (and now) I am working full time with the same company but want to reduce my hours becuase I want to do some profesional development courses. Thanks for your support.

    • Hi Lily. Thanks for your question. It’s a great idea to plan these things ahead of time because people have missed out because they weren’t aware of some of this stuff.

      The good news is that yes, if you meet the criteria you will receive the full amount of Parental Leave Pay even if it is more that what you were receiving! You only need to work for 10 out of the 13 months before your baby’s due date and only 330 hours within those 10 months.

      The other thing you should consider though is if you’re working part time will you be able to take maternity leave from your job? That is, will they give you the 12 months off work and hold your job for when you return? If you’re not planning on returning to work then this won’t matter but if you are you should check your contract or chat to your employer.

      I hope that makes sense! Please feel free to ask more questions if you need.

      All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  7. Hi, my husband is eligible for 3 months Primary Care Giver Leave from his work whereas I don’t get any paid Maternity Leave from my job. Just wondering if anyone knows if I can take the centrelink PPL after my husband has been on paid leave for the first 3 months. Also, how much work I’d need to do each week to prove that he is the primary caregiver?

    Thanks

    Anna

    • Hi Anna! Thanks for your questions and congrats on your pregnancy.

      To answer your question – you cannot take the Centrelink PPL after your husband has been on paid leave. Only because you cannot work before (or during) your Parental Leave Period.

      There might be a way around it though.

      First of all, you have to be eligible for the Centrelink PPL (which you may have worked out already that you are). You are also your baby’s first primary care giver (because PPL is also to ensure the mother has time to recover from the birth).

      You can elect to begin your Parental Leave Pay period from your baby’s birth until the time you go back to work or the time your husband takes his leave.

      You can then transfer the remainder of your Parental Leave Pay to your husband.

      Things to watch for though;

      – Your husband has to also meet the eligibility criteria
      – You’ll need to check also that he can receive both payments at the same time. You CAN receive both (from the government’s point of view) but I have heard of workplaces reducing the amount they pay if the person is also receiving PPL.

      Here’s more info on this: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/parental-leave-pay/eligibility/how-transferring-works

      I’m not sure if there is a minimum amount of work acceptable for you to do to prove he is primary carer. I’ve never seen the government specify this — but perhaps your husband’s work contract might be specific on this.

      Another idea to investigate is: You take the full 18 week’s PPL after your baby’s birth and then when it finished your husband takes his leave. Check his contract etc but Fair Work Australia does say that both parents ARE eligible to take (unpaid) parental leave for 12 months including 8 weeks overlapping. Although if it overlaps then technically he won’t be ‘primary carer’ so might not receive the payment.

      OMG. I hope that makes sense! Please feel free to ask more questions if you need.

      All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  8. Hi all,

    First of all thank you for providing this forum!

    I’m a first-time-mother-to-be and am just slightly confused about PPL eligibility.

    I have started a new job on July 16th 2018 after being overseas for 1 1/2 years. I fell pregnant shortly after and am now 12 weeks pregnant.

    The current estimated due date is May 8th 2019 and (according to an online date to date calculator), I would have worked/been employed just short of 10 months when the baby is due. I would have, however, worked more than 330h by that time as I worked in between 30-38h each week.

    I intend to work until mid-April 2019 – would I then be best off accumulating sufficient Annual Leave to cover until the 10 months employment period is reached to be eligible for PPL?

    Your assistance and any advice is very much appreciated! Kind regards, Eva

    • Hi Eva!

      Thanks for your question and congrats on your pregnancy. It’s very easy to become slightly confused when looking at this!

      So basically, you need to do 10 months and you can’t have had more than 8 weeks off consecutively within those 10 months. It sounds like if you calculate your 10 months from Jul 8 2018 – May 8 2019 then you’ve not had more than 8 weeks off so I would think you’d be eligible based on that. But because of the fact you didn’t start work till July 16, I’m not really sure. I would think it still would be OK but I’m not sure so please check with Centrelink.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  9. Hi I am working for company from 2015.
    I am pregnant and my due is 10 January 2019 due to health issue I took maternity leave from 7 September 2018.
    For parental pay you need to do 330 hours which (I did already 330 hours ) and 10 month out of 13 before your baby due.
    Now I am doing claiming parental pay my test work shows my 13 months period start from 14 dec2017 till 10 January 2019.
    My question is did I complete 10 months period or not.
    I did work 14 dec 2017 till 7 sep 2018 ( now I am unpaid maternity leave)

    • Hi Farri,

      Thanks for your question and congrats on your pregnancy.

      I’m afraid I’m not sure of the answer.

      So basically, you need to do 10 months and you can’t have had more than 8 weeks off consecutively within those 10 months. It sounds like if you calculate your 10 months from Dec14 2017 – Oct 14 2018 then you’ve not had more than 8 weeks off so I would think you’d be eligible based on that. But I’m not really sure so please check with Centrelink.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

      • Thanks for reply
        Sorry I have one more question I took unpaid maternity leave due to health issue I have high blood pressure. I left work on 7 September and took maternity leave early.
        then in October I did online job for USA company only 15 days they paid me salary and certificate for my work but I didn’t get pay slip from them.overseas experience it’s also gonna count as a work? If yes … what document centrelink ask for evidence after applying do I really need pay slip… or should I ask my doctor to make medical certificates about my health issue I don’t wanna loss my parental payment so looking for best option.

        • Hi Farri! No worries we are happy to help!

          I am not sure what documentation Centrelink require for proof of overseas work. Sorry! This is something you’ll have to check with them.

          If I were you I’d do both. Get the letter from your doctor as well as investigate what you need to prove you worked overseas. You’ll also need a letter from your employer to say that you’d have been able to (and intended to) work for longer had it not been for the medical condition.

          Hope that all makes sense!

          All the best x

  10. Hi,

    I’ve been thinking I’d be eligible for parental leave pay but i’m starting to stress about it.

    I gave birth October 2017. I received my last payment of PPL on February 27th 2018. (Payment date, I think PPL technically ended 23rd Feb)

    I returned to work on April 23rd. I fell pregnant again unexpectedly in June.

    So i’m due 1st of Feb 2019

    since finding out i’m pregnant I’ve been making an effort to work the 330 hours. I’m aware previous PPL can count towards the work test but there is a 2 month gap which is technically 8 weeks and 3 days.

    By the time bub is born I will have worked for 9 months and hopefully in that time 330 hours.

    Any idea if I’ll be eligible? I do plan to call centrelink, it’s a weekend and I’m stressing myself silly about it

    • Hi Dece!

      Thanks for your email and congrats on your pregnancy!

      Sorry that you’ve spent the weekend stressing — and maybe you’ve already talked to Centrelink. I’m thinking that there’s a chance you’ll be eligible. Counting back 10 months means the 10 month period goes from April 1 to Feb 1. In which time you wouldn’t have had more than 8 weeks off in a row. But I’m not sure about it so I doubt this will ease your anxiety.

      I’d love to hear what Centrelink says, if you get the chance to come back to let us know I’d appreciate it and it will be helpful for other parents in the same position.

      All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  11. Hi there,

    Apologies if this has been asked before: Is it possible to stretch the mat leave to double the time (instead of taking 18 weeks, take 36 weeks) by asking for half pay??

    Thank you!
    ps: Not pregnant, just researching it all before taking the LEAP!

    • Hi Maz. Thanks for your question. Always good to research first!

      So the thing is that the Government’s Parental Leave Pay is not actually ‘leave’ it is just ‘pay’.

      You’re entitled (if you’ve been with your employer for at least 12 months) to take at least 12 months off as maternity leave. This is unpaid (although some employers offer some paid leave to help fund part of this). This is completely separate from the government Parental Leave Pay scheme.

      So the amount of leave you take is completely up to you (and your circumstances) really. And the government’s Parental Leave Pay is just some money to help financially during this time. As far as I know, they won’t/can’t pay you half so it stretches for longer but you can certainly save half, or put some in a separate account, or pay some bills/payments in advance to cover you for the time you’ll have off.

      Hope that makes sense. Please feel free to ask more questions if you need. We are happy to help!

      All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

    • Hi ladyL – thanks for your question.

      It depends on who provides you with your Parental Leave Pay …

      If your employer is paying your Parental Leave Pay they will have to first deduct tax and anything else you may have deducted (voluntary super, child support etc) at your usual rate. This depends on your individual circumstances and you’ll have to check with your employer or pay office.

      HOWEVER, if you are receiving your Parental Leave Pay from the government they will apply a 15% tax deduction automatically.

      Hope this helps. All the best x

      — follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bubhub to stay in touch with all things pregnancy and parenting —

  12. If you received maternity leave pay from your work an not from Centrelink, can you then contact Centrelink an say that I didn’t get this payment?

    • Hi Ash, thanks for your question. I’m not really sure what it is that you’re asking.

      You are able (if you’re eligible) to receive both paid maternity leave from work AND parental leave pay from the government.

      If you believe you are eligible for Parental Leave Pay from the government you should contact them as soon as possible.

      Hope this helps. All the best!

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