Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond

http://www.pregnancy.com.au/resources/topics-of-interest/parenting-articles/paid-parental-leave.shtml

Paid Parental Leave

Australia's first national Paid Parental Leave scheme started on 1 January 2011. Paid Parental Leave will assist approximately 148,000 eligible working Australian mothers each year.

Paid Parental Leave Baby

On the 1st of January 2011 the Australian Government delivered the first national Paid Parental Leave scheme. The scheme will help working parents spend more time at home with a new baby during the vital early months. It is government-funded and will help employers retain valuable and skilled staff.

The scheme will provide up to 18 weeks Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage (currently $570 a week before tax) for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011.

The Paid Parental Leave scheme recognises that having a child and taking leave from work around the time of the birth is a common part of work and family life.

From 1 July 2011, Parental Leave Pay will generally be provided by the employer for long-term employees. The Family Assistance Office will provide Paid Parental Leave funds to employers in advance.

The scheme will help employers enhance the family friendly workplace conditions many already offer. Paid Parental Leave can be taken in addition to existing employer-funded schemes, at the same time or consecutively.

Parental Leave Pay is funded by the Australian Government and:

Families who are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave, or who choose not to take it, can still access the Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefit (Part A and B) under the usual rules.

Key milestones

Important dates for the implementation of the Paid Parental Leave scheme are:

1 October 2010:      The first claims can be lodged by parents (up to three months in advance of the expected birth or adoption).  Employers can register to provide Parental Leave Pay to eligible employees.

1 January 2011:      Payments will start for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011. Parental Leave Pay can be paid directly by employers or by the Family Assistance Office to eligible employees. 

1 July 2011:           Employers will be responsible for providing Parental Leave Pay to their long-term employees (i.e. those with 12 months service with their employer).

Why is this information important now?

The scheme will help employers enhance the family friendly workplace conditions many already offer. Paid Parental Leave can be taken in addition to existing employer-funded schemes, at the same time or consecutively.

While the scheme begins from 1 January 2011, decisions that prospective parents make now about work could affect their eligibility for Paid Parental Leave under the scheme’s work test.

Employers should be aware that Paid Parental Leave will be a legal entitlement to government-funded pay for eligible parents from 1 January 2011. The role of employers in the scheme is being phased in over the first six months. The Family Assistance Office will provide Parental Leave Pay for children born or adopted from 1 January to 30 June 2011 unless the employer chooses to do so.

For children born or adopted from 1 July 2011, employers will be required to provide Parental Leave Pay to their eligible long-term employees, and may choose to provide the pay to other employees. The Family Assistance Office will advance the funds to the employer so that the employee can be paid. Payments to other parents will be made by the Family Assistance Office.

Who is eligible?

Primary carers of babies born on or after 1 January 2011 may be eligible for Paid Parental Leave. Mothers, or the initial primary carer of a recently adopted child, must usually apply for Paid Parental Leave.

Parents may be eligible if they:

Paid Parental Leave can be transferred to another primary carer, if eligible.

What is the work test?

The Paid Parental Leave work test will be met if a parent:

Seasonal, casual, contractor, self-employed, part-time, full-time workers and people who have had multiple employers may be eligible.

Additional sources of information


For more information on other current financial support and leave entitlements for new parents: