- be the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child
- meet the Paid Parental Leave work test
- meet the Paid Parental Leave income test
- be on leave or not working from the time you become your child’s primary carer until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period
Information for employers
If you are an employer, read more about the Paid Parental Leave scheme and how it might affect your business.
Eligibility & payment rates
Eligibility for Parental Leave Pay
To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you need to meet certain criteria.
Work test for Parental Leave Pay
To meet the Paid Parental Leave work test you must have:
- worked for at least 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child, and
- worked for at least 330 hours in that 10 month period (just over one day a week), with no more than an eight week gap between two consecutive working days
If pregnancy complications or a premature birth have prevented you from meeting the work test, just let us know. There are some exceptions.
Activities that count as work
A 'working day' is a day you have worked for at least one 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 who will be 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.
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 seasonal worker
- are a contractor or self-employed
- work in a family business
- have multiple employers
- have recently changed jobs
- 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.
If your child will be born or adopted before 1 March 2014, any time you solely received government-funded Parental Leave Pay does not count towards the work test, even if it was paid by your employer.
Activities undertaken for Work for the Dole (including Community Development Employment Projects for new participants), Green Corps, Drought Force, the National Green Jobs Corps and other income support programs that include a work component do not count as work.
Residence requirements for Parental Leave Pay
To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay you must satisfy residence requirements. When your child is born or comes into your primary care you must be living in Australia and:
- have Australian citizenship, or
- hold a permanent visa, or
- hold a special category visa, or
- hold a certain temporary visa type for example a partner provisional, interdependency or temporary protection visa. If you hold a certain temporary visa, please read about payments paid while outside Australia
You must continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment.
Payment rate of Parental Leave Pay
The amount of Parental Leave Pay is calculated based on the rate of the National Minimum Wage. Parental Leave Pay is currently $641.05 per week before tax for a maximum of 18 weeks. This is the hourly rate of the National Minimum Wage x 7.6 (hours in a standard working day) x 5 (days in a standard working work). Parental Leave Pay is a taxable payment that can be paid by your employer or by us directly.
Payment by your employer
Your employer will provide your Parental Leave Pay in your usual pay cycle if you:
- have worked for them for 12 months or more before the expected date of birth or adoption. For Australian Public Service (APS) employees, all APS employment is included in the employment period
- will be their employee until at least the end of your Paid Parental Leave period
- are an Australian-based employee, and
- expect to receive at least eight weeks of Parental Leave Pay
If you do not meet these criteria, your employer is not required to provide your Parental Leave Pay. However, they can still choose to provide it to you if you both agree for this to happen. For it to happen, your employer will need to register with us and opt-in to provide Parental Leave Pay before you lodge your claim.
If your employer is providing your Parental Leave Pay:
- they need to withhold PAYG (Pay As You Go tax withholdings) at the usual rate
- they can deduct Child Support from your Parental Leave Pay if required to do so
- they are not required to make additional superannuation contributions, but may do so if they wish to
- you will be able to access paid leave such as maternity leave at the same time as Parental Leave Pay, but you may be taxed at a higher rate
- you may arrange for other deductions to be made from your Parental Leave Pay, and
- you may salary-sacrifice some or all of your Parental Leave Pay through voluntary contributions to superannuation
These arrangements (except for PAYG and Child Support deductions) will depend on what you and your employer agree on, in the same way you make agreements about wages.
Payment by the Department of Human Services
If your employer is not required to provide your Parental Leave Pay, if you do not have an employer, or if you are self-employed, we will pay you directly in fortnightly instalments.
If we are providing your Parental Leave Pay:
- we will withhold PAYG (Pay As You Go tax withholdings) at the rate of 15 per cent (unless you request another rate)
- we will deduct Child Support from your Parental Leave Pay if we are required to do so
- you will not be able to salary sacrifice Parental Leave Pay
- you can voluntarily request a family assistance debt to be deducted, and
- you may arrange for other deductions to be made from your Parental Leave Pay via Centrepay
Effect on existing payments and entitlements while receiving Parental Leave Pay
Parental Leave Pay may affect your existing family assistance entitlements, Child Support, and tax obligations.
Parental Leave Pay is a taxable payment and may affect your:
- Dad and Partner Pay
- Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B
- Child Care Benefit
- Child Support
- HECS liabilities
- Medicare Levy Surcharge
- public housing rent
- low income or other health care cards, or other associated concessions, and
- pensioner, beneficiary, dependent spouse, housekeeper and child-housekeeper tax offsets
Family Tax Benefit Part B and the dependent spouse, child–housekeeper, and housekeeper tax offsets will not be available to you or your partner during your Paid Parental Leave period. These entitlements may be available to you, if you are eligible, after the end of your Paid Parental Leave period. If you are eligible, you can receive Family Tax Benefit Part A during your Paid Parental Leave period but you will not be eligible for the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement.
Any payments you or your partner receive under the Paid Parental Leave scheme will count as income in calculating Family Tax Benefit and other family assistance payments. You should include any Paid Parental Leave scheme payments you expect to receive in your estimate of adjusted taxable income for these payments.
Parental Leave Pay will be treated as income for child support purposes. Parental Leave Pay will not be treated as income in calculating Parenting Payment (partnered or single) and other income support payments, such as the Disability Support Pension, Newstart Allowance, and Veterans' Affairs payments.
As an individual, you can only receive a maximum of 18 weeks pay under the Paid Parental Leave scheme. So, if you are eligible for Parental Leave Pay as well as Dad and Partner Pay for the same child, the total you receive from both payments cannot be more than 18 weeks pay.
Your leave entitlements and Parental Leave Pay
The Paid Parental Leave scheme provides you with Parental Leave Pay but does not give you an entitlement to leave. It is important to organise your leave from work with your employer. You should try to do this at least 10 weeks before you intend to take leave from work.
If you are eligible, you can access up to 18 weeks of government-funded Parental Leave Pay as well as any of your existing employer-provided paid or unpaid leave.
You can take your Parental Leave Pay before, during or after any paid or unpaid maternity or parental leave or other employer-funded leave entitlements such as annual leave or long service leave.
If your employer currently provides paid maternity or parental leave through an industrial agreement or law, then, for the life of the agreement or law, they cannot withdraw your entitlement to that leave. The scheme does not change any existing employer-provided leave entitlements.
National Employment Standards
Under the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009, if you have been employed by your current employer for 12 months or more before the birth or adoption, you may be entitled to unpaid parental leave in association with the birth or adoption of your child.
If you are unsure what your leave entitlements are, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website, or call the Fair Work Ombudsman on 131 394.
Adjusted taxable income
We will calculate your adjusted taxable income as part of the income test.
Other benefits while receiving Parental Leave Pay
If you qualify for Parental Leave Pay, you may be entitled to other payments and services, such as:
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- talk to your employer
- claim early, online or by paper claim
- provide proof of birth or adoption
- we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
You can do most of your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service. There are options using mobile apps, online services or phone self service.
Change of circumstances while receiving Parental Leave Pay
You need to tell us if your circumstances change when you are receiving Parental Leave Pay. For example, if:
- you return to work
- your child leaves your care
- you change your address
- your income changes
- your employment ceases
- your care arrangements change
- you leave Australia, even for a short time, or return to Australia
Changing your claim to Baby Bonus
If your child is born or adopted before 1 March 2014, you can change your claim to Baby Bonus if Parental Leave Pay is no longer the right choice for you. You can do this up until the start date of your Paid Parental Leave period, but you cannot change to Baby Bonus once that period starts.
You can use the Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator to help you decide which payment is the better financial decision for your family.
Baby Bonus will no longer be available for children who are born or adopted on or after 1 March 2014. You may be eligible for the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement paid with your Family Tax Benefit Part A payments instead.
Returning to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period
To receive Parental Leave Pay, you must be on leave or not working from when you become your child’s primary carer until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period.
Keeping in Touch with your workplace while receiving Parental Leave Pay
Under the Paid Parental Leave scheme you have the option, if you and your employer agree on it, to keep in touch with your workplace without losing your Parental Leave Pay.
Parental Leave Pay overpayments
If you receive a Parental Leave Pay overpayment, you will have to repay the money.
Parental Leave Pay while travelling outside Australia
From 1 July 2014, the length of time you can be paid Parental Leave Pay while temporarily outside Australia will reduce from 3 years to 56 weeks.
If you leave Australia to live in another country or your children leave your care, your Parental Leave Pay will stop.
If you leave Australia temporarily, as long as you remain qualified, you will continue to receive Parental Leave Pay so long as your absence does not exceed 56 weeks.
If you are the holder of a Partner Provisional Visa subclass 309 or 820, or Interdependency Visa subclass 310 or 826, you will only be paid outside Australia for a negotiated period of up to 6 weeks, for the following approved reasons:
- for an acute family crisis, for example to visit an immediate family member who is critically ill
- for humanitarian reasons, for example to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings, or
- eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia
If you have a Temporary Protection Visa, you will not receive Parental Leave Pay if you leave Australia for any reason.
If you leave Australia and your Parental Leave Pay stops even for 1 day, it cannot be restarted when you return to Australia.
Australian Defence Force members deployed overseas or Australian Federal Police engaged in peacekeeping or capacity building activities overseas, may still be eligible for Parental Leave Pay up to a maximum of 3 years.
Advising us of your travel outside Australia
You should tell us if you are leaving Australia and:
- will be away for longer than 6 weeks
- are travelling on a cruise ship and have not been back in Australia for 6 weeks since your last absence, or
- you hold a Partner Provisional or Interdependency visa and you are leaving due to an acute family crisis, for medical treatment overseas or for humanitarian reasons
Otherwise you do not need to tell us if you are leaving Australia. Information is received automatically from Australia's immigration department about movements into, and out of, Australia.
Information for employers
If you are an employer, read more about the Paid Parental Leave scheme and how it might affect your business.
Choosing between Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus
Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator
If your child is born or adopted before 1 March 2014 and you think you may be eligible 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 rather than Baby Bonus.
The estimator does not provide a rate of payment or assess your eligibility, but will ask you to answer questions about your circumstances and will provide you with a comparison between Parental Leave Pay and Baby Bonus. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria for both of these payments, you should not use the estimator.
The result may depend on the date you wish to start your Paid Parental Leave period, so we recommend that you try different dates in order to work out the best financial decision for your family. From 34 weeks after the birth or adoption, the number of weeks you can receive Parental Leave Pay will reduce.
When you have decided which payment is better for your family, you can lodge your claim as early as three months before the expected date of birth or adoption.
The estimator uses the following details in its calculations:
- Baby Bonus
- Family Tax Benefit Part A
- Family Tax Benefit Part B
- Income Tax
- Large Family Supplement (if applicable)
- Low Income Tax Offset
- Medicare Levy
- Parental Leave Pay
The estimator will provide an indicative result based on the circumstances you provide. Start the Paid Parental Leave Comparison Estimator.
Parental Leave Pay video
Employee checklist for parental leave
The Fair Work Ombudsman employee checklist can help you make sure you have done all the steps you need to when requesting parental leave from your employer.
Select the options that describe your circumstances then explore a suggested list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Select your state and topics of interest to find links to government and community organisation support.