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Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers
Government funded support for employers to provide Parental Leave Pay to eligible employees.
You need to know
Under the Paid Parental Leave scheme, eligible working parents can get government funded pay when they take time off work to care for a newborn or recently adopted 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 is paid to the child’s primary carer. Eligible parents may get up to 18 weeks of 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.
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 submits 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 is for eligible working dads or partners, including adopting parents and same sex couples. They may get up to 2 weeks of 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.
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
- increase long term 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.
Employers play an important role 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.
It is an employee’s responsibility to submit their claim for Parental Leave Pay. We will then assess their eligibility.
You can opt in to provide Parental Leave Pay to employees you are not required to provide it to.
You should provide Parental Leave Pay to your employee in the same way you pay salary or wages.
The scheme is designed to complement existing workplace entitlements. It provides payments but does not provide a new entitlement to leave.
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.
You can pre-register for the Paid Parental Leave scheme through Centrelink Business Online Services to make sure your business is ready to provide Parental Leave Pay to eligible employees. You can also 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 131 158. When you register for the Paid Parental Leave scheme, you are automatically registered to be able to provide Employment Separation Certificates.
After an employee submits a claim for Parental Leave Pay and we make a decision that you are required to provide it to them, we will send you an Employer Determination letter.
If you are already registered for Centrelink Business Online Services and subscribed to Organisational Online Mail, you will be asked to log on to view an online notice. Once you’ve logged on, you will be able to accept your obligation to provide Parental Leave Pay to your employee and provide pay cycle and bank account information. You must do this within 14 days of the date of the notice.
If you are not registered for Centrelink Business Online Services, we will contact you by mail. You will be able to register at that time and then do your Paid Parental Leave scheme business online.
You can either register for Centrelink Business Online Services or accept your role by calling our National Business Gateway on 131 158.
If you do not agree with our decision that you will provide the Parental Leave Pay, you can request a review of the decision within 14 days of the original notice.
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.
Employees receiving Parental Leave Pay have the option, with your agreement, to keep in touch with the workplace.
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
The Employer Toolkit is your complete guide to the Paid Parental Leave scheme and to what you need to do.
The National Business Gateway is a national contact centre dedicated to making it easier for you to do business with us.
If you speak a language other than English, you can view information on the Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers in your language.
There’s a lot of information out there about the Paid Parental Leave scheme and it’s easy for misconceptions to form. Let’s debunk some of the common myths you might come across as an employer.
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.