Eligibility for Parental Leave Pay

Your Paid Parental Leave period is the time you take off work and get Parental Leave Pay for, which can be up to 18 weeks at a time.

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 most meets 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

Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus cannot be paid for the same child. Baby Bonus is not available for children who are born or adopted on or after 1 March 2014.

If you meet the eligibility criteria for both Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus, 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.

You may be eligible for Parental Leave Pay if you work:

  • full time
  • part time
  • casually
  • seasonally
  • as a contractor, or
  • for your own business

You could also be eligible if you:

  • have multiple employers
  • work for a family business
  • have worked overseas, or
  • have recently changed jobs

In the case of a stillbirth or infant death, you may still be eligible for Parental Leave Pay. Read more about Bereavement Payment or call us on 136 150.

If you’re not the primary carer

There are some circumstances where you can receive the payment if you are not the primary carer of your child, such as:

  • you are temporarily unable to care for your child, or
  • 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, generally you must lodge the claim and establish eligibility for the payment.

If you claim and meet the eligibility requirements, you may 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 payment to must also lodge a claim and meet the eligibility criteria.

If you are transferring your payment to another person because you wish to return to work early, you must lodge your claim before your return to work and while you are still eligible.

Exceptional circumstances

If the birth mother or the initial primary carer of an adopted child is unable to care for the child, another person may claim Parental Leave Pay. This could be due to severe illness or a serious accident.

The person claiming 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 call us on 136 150.