Work test for Parental Leave Pay

To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you need to meet the work test or receive an exemption.

Work requirements

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, with 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 has prevented you from meeting the requirements. You’ll need to show that you would’ve met the work test if without any pregnancy complications or if the child hadn’t 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 toward the work test, but periods of unpaid leave don’t count.

You can also count any Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay periods that fall in the 13 months before the birth or adoption. If you’re 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 don’t need to be working full time to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay. You may meet the work test 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
  • are no longer employed, or
  • have worked overseas

If you work for a family business, you can include your hours of work even if the business doesn’t make any income, provided you are working for financial gain or benefit.

The following activities also count as work:

  • employment at an Australian Disability Enterprise - read about Australian Disability Enterprises on the Department of Social Services website
  • operating a business while receiving assistance under the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme - read about the scheme on the Department of Employment website
  • farm labour or operating a business while receiving an Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment - read about the relief payment on the Department of Agriculture website
  • jury service, and
  • Defence Reservist work

Periods of workers’ or accident compensation or similar payments related to employment can also count as work.

Activities that don’t count as work

Activities that can’t be included as work for the work test include:

  • periods of unpaid leave
  • income support programs that include a work component; for example, Work for the Dole or Green Army
  • volunteer work
  • study through a scholarship or other award of financial aid, and
  • outstanding leave entitlements paid out as part of a redundancy

Self employed parents

You may still meet the work test if you’re self employed.

You can include your hours of work, even if the business doesn’t generate any income, provided you’re undertaking the work for financial reward or gain.

This includes:

  • 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 stopped working on 25 March 2016, and she expected her first child to be born on 16 April 2016. Her 13 month work test period is calculated from 19 March 2015 to 15 April 2016 - the day before her baby’s expected date of birth.

During that time, Alison worked 38 hours per week as a full time nurse except for an 11 week holiday she took between 7 October 2015 and 22 December 2015 and maternity leave taken from 26 March 2016.

For her holiday, Alison took the whole 11 weeks as a combination of paid leave - long service leave and annual leave. Alison returned to work after her holiday and then started 3 weeks paid maternity leave from 26 March 2016. 

Alison’s paid leave counts as work for the work test.

Within her 13 month work test period, Alison worked a 10 month period from 25 June 2015 to 15 April 2016. In that 10 month period, she worked more than 330 hours and didn’t have a gap of 8 weeks or more between work days including her paid leave days.

Alison meets the work test.

A diagram that shows that Alison has worked enough hours to meet the work test

Different employers and the work test

Jenna had her first baby on 2 May 2016. Her 13 month work test period is calculated from 5 April 2015 to 1 May 2016.

Jenna works for 3 employers. She worked:

  • in an office for 6 hours per week every week from the beginning of her Paid Parental Leave work test period until 28 March 2016 (252 hours)
  • as a waitress with casual hours - she calculated that in a 10 month period between 5 April 2015 and 24 January 2016 she worked a total of 70 hours as a waitress, and
  • as a swimming instructor for 3 hours per week for 4 weeks in December 2015 (12 hours)

Jenna can include her work with each employer towards the work test.

As she has worked more than 330 hours and there isn’t a gap of 8 weeks or more between 2 consecutive working days in the 10 month period, Jenna meets the work test.

A diagram that shows Jenna has worked more than 330 hours, which means she meets the work test

Pregnancy related complications and the work test

Patricia returned to work full time as a nurse on 30 June 2015 after taking 2 years of unpaid leave to care for her first child. Her second child was due on 3 June 2016. Due to pregnancy induced 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 2016. Patricia had intended to work up to 4 May 2016, but her pregnancy related complications stopped her from doing this. Her baby is born on 30 May 2016.

Patricia’s 10 month period started on 14 July 2015 until 4 May 2016.

Patricia didn’t work after 31 January 2016. This would normally mean she doesn’t 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 and Patricia was able to provide evidence that her doctor required her to undertake bed rest and evidence from her employer that she had intended to continue working until 4 May 2016.

Patricia meets the work test.

Premature birth and the work test

Denise has worked 8 hours per week since 12 August 2015.

Denise’s third child is due on 15 July 2016 but is born prematurely on 2 May 2016.

When checking her work test details for the period 12 July 2015 to 2 May 2016, Denise calculated that she had worked 304 hours. As Denise worked less than 330 hours in the 10 month period, she wouldn’t normally meet the work test.

Denise had intended to work up to 2 weeks before her due date of 15 July 2016, which would have resulted in an additional 40 hours.

Denise meets the work test because she provided evidence from her doctor of her child’s expected due date and a letter from her employer explaining that she planned to continue working for an additional 10 weeks before the premature birth of her child.

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 2014 and received Parental Leave Pay for the period from 1 February 2015 to 6 June 2015.

Sadie returned to work as a cleaner on 8 June 2015 for 35 hours per week until she went on maternity leave on 8 February 2016 to have her second child. This was an 8 month period of work.

Sadie’s second child was born on 4 March 2016.

Sadie can include her previous period of Parental Leave Pay towards the work test.

Sadie's previous 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 was also no more than an 8 week gap between work days. Sadie meets the work test.

Diagram showing that Sadie meets the work test

Self employment and the work test

Lisa gives birth to her first child on 1 May 2016. Her 13 month work test period is from 4 April 2015 to 30 April 2016.

She runs a beautician business from home, which she started in March 2015. Due to start up and running costs, Lisa hasn’t yet made a profit from her business, but between client appointments and administration, she worked at least 4 days per week at 5 hours per day.

Lisa meets the work test as she worked for at least 10 months in the 13 month work test period and during this time worked more than 330 hours without more than an 8 week gap.

Diagram showing that Lisa meets the work test

Page last updated: 19 May 2016

This information was printed Friday 9 December 2016 from humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/work-test-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.