Eligibility for Parental Leave Pay

To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you need to meet certain criteria.

You must be:

  • the birth mother of the newborn
  • the adopting parent of the child, or
  • another person caring for the child under exceptional circumstances

You may still be eligible if 1 of the people above is eligible and they transfer the payment to you.

You also need to:

  • meet the work test for Parental Leave Pay, which is based on the 13 month period before your child is expected to come into your care
  • meet residency requirements from the date the child comes into 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

You can’t get Parental Leave Pay and Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement for the same child. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements for Parental Leave Pay, you may still be eligible for Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement.

In the case of a stillbirth or infant death, you may still be eligible for Parental Leave Pay or Stillborn Baby Payment. Read more about Bereavement Payment or call the Families line.

If you’re not the primary carer

You may still be eligible for Parental Leave Pay if you’re:

  • the partner of the eligible, initial primary carer and they transfer their Parental Leave Pay and primary care of the child to you
  • temporarily unable to care for your child, or
  • the birth mother and no longer have care of the child; for example, if you’ve given up a child as part of an adoption or surrogacy arrangement, you may receive non‑transferrable Parental Leave Pay during the first 18 weeks after the child’s birth so you can take time off work for maternal recovery purposes with the payment stopping when you return to work

Exceptional circumstances

Exceptional circumstances need to apply for you to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay without the initial primary carer being eligible.

If the initial primary carer is unable to care for the child, under exceptional circumstances, another person may claim Parental Leave Pay. This could be due to severe illness or a serious accident.

In exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible for Parental Leave Pay if:

  • you have had a child come into your care within 52 weeks of their birth or adoption
  • you intend to care for the child for at least 26 weeks
  • the child hasn’t been placed in your care as part of a decision made by a state or territory child protection agency, and
  • the child’s initial primary carer and their partner are incapable of caring for the child for at least 26 weeks or other approved circumstances exist where it is unreasonable that they care for the child

If you’re eligible under exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible for up to 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay while you take time off work to care for the child. If someone has already started to get Parental Leave Pay and you haven’t met the work test or income test, you may still be eligible for the portion of Parental Leave Pay that was remaining when the initial primary carer stopped being eligible.

If you’re a formal foster carer with a child temporarily entrusted to your care, you aren’t eligible for Parental Leave Pay. However, you may be eligible for Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement for the child.

If you’ve had a child placed in your care through a formal foster arrangement and the placement is with a view that you’ll adopt the child, you may be eligible for Parental Leave Pay as an adoptive parent.

Page last updated: 12 August 2016

This information was printed Thursday 29 September 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/eligibility-parental-leave-pay It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.