Work test for Parental Leave Pay
To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay you need to meet the work test or receive an exemption.
To meet the work test for Parental Leave Pay you must have worked for at least:
- 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child, and
- 330 hours in that 10 month period, which is just over 1 day a week, and had no more than an 8 week gap between 2 consecutive working days
There are some exceptions to the work test if pregnancy complications or a premature birth have prevented you from meeting it. You will need to show that you would have met the work test if you did not have pregnancy complications or if the child had not been born prematurely.
Activities that count as work
A working day is a day when you have worked for at least 1 hour. You can count periods of paid leave towards the work test but periods of unpaid leave do not count.
If you are claiming for a child born or adopted on or after 1 March 2014, you can also count any Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay periods you have previously taken in the 13 months before the birth or adoption. If you are including a previous period of Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay in the work test, each weekday counts as 7.6 hours.
You do not need to be working full time to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay. You may meet the work test even if you:
- are a part time, casual, or a seasonal worker
- are a contractor or self employed
- work in a family business
- have multiple employers
- have recently changed jobs, or
- have worked overseas
If you work for a family business, you can include your hours of work even if the business is not making any income, providing you are doing the work for financial gain or benefit.
The following activities also count as work:
- employment at an Australian Disability Enterprise
- operating a business while receiving assistance under the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme
- farm labour or operating a business while receiving an Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment
- jury service, and
- Defence Reservist work
Periods of workers’ or accident compensation or similar payments in respect of employment can also count as work.
Activities that do not count as work
Periods of unpaid leave or voluntary work cannot be included as work for the work test.
If your child was born or adopted before 1 March 2014, any time you solely received government funded Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay does not count towards the work test, even if it was paid by your employer.
Other activities that do not count as work are those undertaken for Work for the Dole including Green Army and other income support programs that include a work component.
Self employed parents
You may still meet the work test if you are self employed.
You can include your hours of work, even if the business is not generating any income, providing you are undertaking the work for financial reward or gain.
- providing goods and services for hire or reward
- carrying on a business including as a partnership or enterprise, or
- working for a trust operating as a business
Examples of the work test
Paid leave from work and the work test
Alison’s first child was born on 16 April 2014. Her 13 month work test period is from 19 March 2013 to 15 April 2014.
During this time Alison worked 38 hours per week as a full time nurse except for an 11 week holiday she took between 7 October 2013 and 22 December 2013.
Alison took the first 7 weeks of her leave as paid long service leave and the remaining 4 weeks as paid annual leave.
Paid leave counts as work for the work test.
Alison worked a 10 month period within her 13 month work test period from 24 June 2013 to 15 April 2014. In that 10 month period she worked more than 330 hours. She also had no more than an 8 week gap between work days including her paid leave days.
Alison meets the work test.
Different employers and the work test
Jenna had her first baby on 2 May 2014. Her 13 month work test period is from 4 April 2013 to 1 May 2014.
Jenna works for 3 employers:
- in an office 6 hours per week, every week from the beginning of her Paid Parental Leave work test period until 28 March 2014
- casually as a waitress and her hours fluctuate each week - she calculates that in a 10 month period between 4 April 2013 and 24 January 2014 she worked a total of 70 hours as a waitress
- as a swimming instructor for 3 hours per week for 4 weeks in December 2013
Jenna can include her work with each employer towards the work test.
As she has worked more than 330 hours and there is no gap of more than 8 weeks between 2 consecutive working days in the 10 month period, Jenna meets the work test.
Pregnancy related complications and the work test
Patricia returned to work full time as a nurse on 30 June 2013 after taking time out to care for her first child. Her second child was due on 3 June 2014.
Because of pregnancy induced hypertension, high blood pressure, her doctor required her to undertake bed rest to help prevent a premature birth. She went on unpaid leave from 31 January 2014.
Patricia had intended to work up to 4 May, however, her pregnancy related complications prevented her from doing so.
Her baby was born on 30 May 2014.
Patricia’s 10 month period is from when she returned to work on 30 June 2013 until 22 April 2014. Patricia did not work after 31 January 2014.
This would normally mean she did not meet the work test because there is more than an 8 week gap between 2 consecutive work days during the 10 month period. However, the gap was caused by pregnancy related complications.
Patricia provided evidence that her doctor required her to undertake bed rest and evidence from her employer that she had intended to continue working.
Because Patricia would have met the work test rules if it wasn't for her pregnancy related complications, Patricia meets the work test.
Premature birth and the work test
Denise’s third child was expected to be born on 15 July 2014. Since returning to work after the birth of her second child on 12 August 2013, Denise has worked 8 hours per week.
Denise’s third child was born prematurely on 2 May 2014.
Denise’s 10 month period is calculated from when she returned to work on 12 August 2013 until 3 June 2014. She had worked 304 hours in this period.
Denise had intended to work up to her due date of 15 July 2014. Had she continued working up to this date she would have worked an additional 80 hours.
Denise provided evidence from her hospital of her child’s expected and actual due date.
As Denise had worked less than 330 hours in the 10 month period, she would normally not meet the work test. However, because Denise would have met the work test had her child not been born prematurely, Denise meets the work test.
Inclusion of a previous Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay period in the work test
Sadie had her first child on 15 October 2012 and received Parental Leave Pay for the period from 1 February 2013 to 7 June 2013.
Sadie returned to work as a hotel cleaner on 8 June 2013 for 35 hours per week intending to work until she went on maternity leave on 8 February 2014 to have her second child. This is an 8 month period of work.
The expected date of birth for Sadie’s second child is 4 March 2014.
Birth after 1 March 2014
If Sadie gives birth to her second child on 4 March 2014 (after 1 March 2014) she can include her previous period of Parental Leave Pay towards the work test.
Sadie's Parental Leave Pay period, in addition to her 8 months of work, means she has worked more than 330 hours in the 10 month period. There is also no gap between work days of more than 8 weeks. Sadie meets the work test.
Birth prior to 1 March 2014
If Sadie gives birth to her second child on 22 February 2014 (before 1 March 2014) she cannot include her previous Paid Parental Leave period towards the work test.
Because she has worked for less than a 10 month period, Sadie does not meet the work test. Sadie is not eligible for Parental Leave Pay for her second child.
Self employment and the work test
Lisa gives birth to her first child on 1 May 2014. Her 13 month work test period is from 3 April 2013 to 30 April 2014.
She runs a beautician business from home, which she started in March 2013. Due to start up and running costs she has not yet made a profit from her business, but between client appointments and administration she works at least 4 days per week at 5 hours per day.
Lisa meets the work test as she has worked for at least 10 months in the 13 month work test period and has worked more than 330 hours without more than an 8 week gap in the 10 months.