Parental Leave Pay
Financial support for up to 18 weeks to help eligible parents take time off work to care for a newborn or recently adopted child.
- 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
Eligibility & payment rates
To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you need to meet certain criteria.
To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay you need to meet the work test or receive an exemption.
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
- hold a permanent visa
- 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.
Parental Leave Pay is currently $657 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 week). 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 payment 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 8 weeks of Parental Leave Pay
If you do not meet these criteria, your employer is not required to provide your payment. 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 submit your claim.
If your employer is providing your Parental Leave Pay:
- they need to withhold PAYG (Pay As You Go tax) 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
Except for PAYG and child support deductions, these arrangements will depend on what you and your employer agree on. This is the same way you make agreements about your wages.
Payment by us
We will pay you directly in fortnightly instalments if your employer does not have to provide your Parental Leave Pay, if you do not have an employer, or if you are self employed.
If we provide your payment:
- we will withhold PAYG at the rate of 15% 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 through Centrepay
Parental Leave Pay may affect your existing family assistance entitlements, child support arrangements 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
You and your partner can not receive Family Tax Benefit Part B and the dependent spouse, child–housekeeper, and housekeeper tax offsets 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.
You can receive Family Tax Benefit Part A during your Paid Parental Leave period if you are eligible for it. However, you will not receive Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement if you receive Parental Leave Pay.
Any payments you or your partner receive under the 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
- 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. 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.
The 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.
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 payment 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, they cannot withdraw your entitlement to that leave for the life of the agreement or law. 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.
Read more about your leave entitlements on the Fair Work Ombudsman website, or call the Fair Work Ombudsman on 131 394.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- read the conditions for claiming
- talk to your employer at least 10 weeks before you want your leave to start
- check the time limits on claiming
- start your claim online as early as 3 months before your child's expected due date of birth or adoption
- submit any supporting documents online
- finish and submit your claim
- provide proof of birth or adoption
- we assess your claim and let you know the outcome
Managing your payment
Do your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business using self service options, including our Express Plus mobile apps, online accounts and phone self service.
If you do not tell us when your circumstances change, you may be doing the wrong thing.
For example, not telling us if:
- you return to work
- your child leaves your care
- you change your address
- your income changes
- your employment ends, or
- your care arrangements change
Doing the right thing is easy:
- tell us about any changes to your circumstances as soon as possible
- regularly check that your information is up to date through your myGov account
It is never too late to report a change. By telling us about any changes today, we can help make sure you receive the correct payment.
If you have received payments you are not eligible for, you may have to repay the amount. Having to repay a debt may be difficult but choosing not to tell us when your circumstances change could lead to far more serious consequences.
If you deliberately do not tell us when your circumstances change, you could be committing fraud. Read more about how to avoid committing fraud.
If you have submitted your claim and wish to change your Paid Parental Leave period start date, you may request to change it if your Paid Parental Leave period has not started.
If you have received advice from us that your claim has been assessed, you may request a change to your nominated start date online, by using the Paid Parental Leave Circumstances option, or by calling us on 136 150.
If your claim has not yet been assessed, please call us on 136 150.
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.
If you return to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period, your Parental Leave Pay will stop. If you do decide to return to work early, the unused part of your Parental Leave Pay may be transferred to your partner if he or she meets the eligibility criteria and makes a claim for your unused Parental Leave Pay.
In the case of stillbirth or infant death, you may return to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period and continue to receive Parental Leave Pay.
If you decide to return to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period, you must tell us.
We will see you as having returned to work if you:
- participate in paid work, other than under the Keeping in Touch provisions, or
- perform more than 10 Keeping in Touch days
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.
If you receive a Parental Leave Pay overpayment, you will have to repay the money.
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Parental Leave Pay.
There is support available to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
The Fair Work Ombudsman employee checklist can help make sure you have followed all the required 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.