Eligibility for Parental Leave Pay

To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you need to:

  • be the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child (the primary carer is the person who is most meeting the child’s physical needs). This is usually the birth mother of a newborn or the initial primary carer of an adopted child. You are considered to be the primary carer from birth, even if your child is in hospital
  • have met the Paid Parental Leave work test
  • meet residence requirements from the date the child enters your care until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period
  • 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), and
  • be on leave or not working, from when you become the child’s primary carer until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period

Your Paid Parental Leave period is the time you take off work and get Parental Leave Pay for (up to 18 weeks at one time).

Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus cannot be paid for the same child. If your child is born or adopted before 1 March 2014 and you meet the eligibility criteria for both payments, you can use the Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator to help you decide which payment is the better financial decision for your family. Most eligible families will be better off receiving Parental Leave Pay rather than Baby Bonus. Baby Bonus will no longer be available for children born or adopted on or after 1 March 2014.

Full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract, and self-employed workers may be eligible for Parental Leave Pay. You could also have multiple employers, work for a family business, have worked overseas, or have recently changed jobs and still be eligible.

You may be eligible for Parental Leave Pay in the case of a stillbirth or infant death. For more information, see the Bereavement Payment section of this website or call us on 136 150.

If you are not the primary carer

There are some circumstances in which you can receive Parental Leave Pay if you are not the primary carer of your child - for example:

  • if you are temporarily unable to care for your child, or
  • if you are the birth mother in an adoption or surrogacy arrangement

Transferring payments

If you are the birth mother of a newborn child or the initial primary carer of an adopted child, you must lodge the claim for Parental Leave Pay.

If you are eligible, you can receive Parental Leave Pay yourself or you may, if you wish to return to work early, transfer some or all of your unused Parental Leave Pay to either:

  • your partner
  • the other legal parent of the child, or
  • the other legal parent's partner

The person you want to transfer your Parental Leave Pay to must lodge a claim and meet the eligibility criteria.

Exceptional circumstances

Another person may claim Parental Leave Pay in exceptional circumstances when the birth mother or the initial primary carer of an adopted child is unable to care for the child—for instance, due to severe illness or a serious accident.

The person claiming Parental Leave Pay under exceptional circumstances would need to meet the eligibility criteria and expect to have care of the child for at least 26 weeks. The change of care must take place within 52 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption.

If you think you may be eligible for Parental Leave Pay in exceptional circumstances, you should visit your nearest service centre or call 136 150.