Information about the Paid Parental Leave scheme for parents
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You need to know
About the scheme
Under the Paid Parental Leave scheme, eligible working parents can get government funded pay when they take time off work to care for a new child. They may receive up to 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay or 2 weeks of Dad and Partner Pay. Full time, part time, casual, seasonal, contract and self-employed workers may be eligible.
Parental leave pay
Parental Leave Pay is paid to the child’s primary carer and eligible parents may get up to 18 weeks’ pay based on the rate of the National Minimum Wage. They must be on paid or unpaid leave or not working from the time they become their child’s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period. In most cases, employers provide Parental Leave Pay to their eligible employees. The government provides the necessary Paid Parental Leave funds to employers first.
As an employer, you must provide Parental Leave Pay to an eligible employee who:
- has a newborn or recently adopted child
- has worked for you for at least 12 months before the expected date of birth or adoption
- will be your employee until at least the end of their Paid Parental Leave period
- is Australian-based, and
- is expected to receive at least 8 weeks of Parental Leave Pay
Your business must have an Australian Business Number to participate in the scheme.
If your employee does not meet the above criteria, you are not required to provide Parental Leave Pay. However, if you both agree, you can still choose to provide it to your employee if they are eligible. You need to register for Centrelink Business Online Services and then opt-in to provide Parental Leave Pay before your employee lodges their claim for the scheme.
We will contact you if you are required to provide Parental Leave Pay to an employee and will provide the necessary Paid Parental Leave funds to you. We will provide Parental Leave Pay directly to an eligible parent who does not receive it from their employer.
Dad and Partner pay
Dad and Partner Pay is for eligible working dads or partners, including adopting parents and same-sex couples. They may get up to 2 weeks’ pay based on the rate of the National Minimum Wage. They must not be working during this time or must be on unpaid leave.
Employers do not play a role in providing Dad and Partner Pay. We always pay your employees directly. It’s still important to be aware of Dad and Partner Pay because your employee may approach you about taking unpaid leave so they can receive Dad and Partner Pay.
You may choose to pay your employee a top-up payment to supplement their Dad and Partner Pay. For example, you may decide to pay the difference between your employee’s Dad and Partner Pay and their normal wage. A top up payment is not considered paid leave for the purposes of Dad and Partner Pay eligibility.
Why the scheme was introduced
The Paid Parental Leave scheme is designed to:
- signal that taking time out of the paid workforce to care for a child is part of the usual course of working life for both parents
- promote equity between men and women and balance between work and family life
The scheme is also designed to help employers:
- retain valuable and skilled staff by encouraging them to stay connected with the workforce when they become parents
- enhance family friendly workplace conditions without having to fund Parental Leave Pay themselves
- in the long-term through increased workforce participation of parents
The financial support provided by the scheme complements parents’ existing entitlements to paid and unpaid leave in connection with the birth or adoption of a child.
Preparing for your role as an employer in the Paid Parental Leave scheme
Employers play an important role in the Paid Parental Leave scheme.
Employers' responsibilities in the Paid Parental Leave scheme
When you are required to provide Parental Leave Pay to an employee, there are some things you need to do.
Employee eligibility for Parental Leave Pay
It is an employee’s responsibility to lodge their claim for Parental Leave Pay. Then we will assess their eligibility.
Employers opting-in to provide Parental Leave Pay
You can opt-in to provide Parental Leave Pay to employees whom you are not required to provide it to.
Employers providing Parental Leave Pay
You should provide Parental Leave Pay to your employee in the same way in which you pay salary or wages.
Parental Leave Pay's effect on existing leave entitlements
The scheme is designed to complement existing workplace entitlements. It provides payments but does not provide a new entitlement to leave.
Register for an AUSkey
An AUSkey or current Australian Taxation Office (ATO) digital certificate is your shortcut to registering and managing your details through Centrelink Business Online Services.
If you don’t have an AUSkey or ATO digital certificate, you can still register for Centrelink Business Online Services, but in that case you won’t be able to add or update your bank details or add new users online.You can contact our National Business Gateway on 131 158 and a Customer Service Officer can assist you.
AUSkey is a digital credential that allows you to access government online services. Read more about AUSkey on the Australian Business Register website.
Register as an employer for the Paid Parental Leave scheme
To make sure your business is ready to provide Parental Leave Pay to eligible employees, you can pre-register for the scheme through Centrelink Business Online Services, or you can register when we contact you. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can register for the scheme by calling our National Business Gateway on 131158. When you register for the Paid Parental Leave scheme, you are automatically registered to be able to provide Employment Separation Certificates.
Next steps after an employee lodges a claim for Parental Leave Pay
After an employee lodges a claim and we decide you need to provide them with Parental Leave Pay, we will send you a letter.
Tell us if your employee returns to work
To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, employees must be on leave from when they become their child’s primary carer until the end of their Paid Parental Leave period.
If your employee returns to work before the end of that period, you need to notify us, because their Parental Leave Pay will need to stop.
Keeping in Touch with your employee who is receiving Parental Leave Pay
Employees receiving Parental Leave Pay have the option, with your agreement, to keep in touch with the workplace.
Tell us if circumstances change
If your employee is receiving Parental Leave Pay, you are required to advise us of any change in circumstances before your employee’s Paid Parental Leave period end date.
Please tell us if before the end of your employee’s Paid Parental Leave period:
- your employee either returns to work or takes more than 10 Keeping in Touch days
- your employee stops working for you
- your bank account details change
- your Parental Leave Pay contact officer changes
- your employee’s pay cycle changes
- you are unable to provide Parental Leave Pay to your employee
- you have received an incorrect amount of funds from us
- you are ceasing to trade, selling your business, transferring ownership or merging with another business
Get the Employer Toolkit
The Employer Toolkit is your complete guide to the Paid Parental Leave scheme and to what you need to do.
National Business Gateway
The National Business Gateway is a national contact centre dedicated to making it easier for you to do business with us.
Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers - multilingual information
If you speak a language other than English, you can view information on the Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers in your language.
Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers: Getting started
This video discusses the role of employers in the Paid Parental Leave scheme.
Top myths about the Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers
This video debunks some of the common myths you might come across about the Paid Parental Leave scheme as an employer.
Employer checklist for parental leave
The employer checklists on the Fair Work Ombudsman employer website can help you make sure you have followed all the steps you need to when an employee requests parental leave.