Parental Leave Pay
Financial support for up to 18 weeks to help working parents care for a newborn or recently adopted child.
- be the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child
- meet a work and 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
The Government has proposed changes to Parental Leave Pay. This legislation hasn’t passed.
If you’ve submitted a claim for a child expected to be born on or after 1 January 2017, you don’t need to do anything. We’ll let you know if the changes go ahead.
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.
- have Australian citizenship
- hold a permanent visa
- hold a special category visa, or
- hold a temporary visa; for example, a partner provisional, interdependency or temporary protection visa
If you hold a temporary visa, read about payments paid while outside Australia.
You must continue to meet the residence requirements for as long as you get this payment.
Your adjusted taxable income will be used to assess your eligibility for some payments, supplements, support and benefits.
You may be able to transfer some or all of your Parental Leave Pay to another eligible person.
Parental Leave Pay is currently $672.60 per week before tax for a maximum of 18 weeks. This is the weekly rate of the national minimum wage. It’s a taxable payment that can be paid by your employer or by us directly.
If you're eligible for Parental Leave Pay as well as Dad and Partner Pay for the same child, the total you receive from both payments can’t be more than 18 weeks pay.
You nominate a start date when you complete your claim.
If you submit your claim within 28 days of your child’s birth or adoption, you may request that your Paid Parental Leave period starts from your child’s date of birth or adoption.
If you submit your claim more than 28 days after your child’s date of birth or adoption, you can’t receive Parental Leave Pay for a period before your claim was submitted.
To ensure you are paid from the date you choose, you need to claim and provide the proof of birth or adoption within 28 days of the child coming into your care.
Your start date isn’t the date your first payment will be received—it’s the start of your entitlement period. When your Parental Leave Pay is assessed, your first payment will include any arrears you may be entitled to.
Karli gave birth on 2 November 2015 and submitted her claim and proof of birth on 10 November 2015. Karli requests her start date as her child’s date of birth, 2 November 2015. When Karli’s claim was granted, her first payment was paid into her bank account on 19 November 2015. However, arrears were paid and the payment was backdated to 2 November 2015.
Your Parental Leave Pay will be paid to you by your employer or us, depending on your circumstances.
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 don’t meet these criteria, your employer won’t be 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’ll provide payment in your usual pay cycle
- they need to withhold Pay As You Go tax (PAYG) at the usual rate
- they can deduct child support from your Parental Leave Pay, if required to do so
- they aren’t required to make additional superannuation contributions, but may do so if they wish
- 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’ll pay you directly in fortnightly instalments if:
- your employer does not have to provide your Parental Leave Pay
- you don’t have an employer
- you’re self employed, or
- you receive an income support payment from us
If we provide your payment:
- we’ll withhold PAYG at the rate of 15%, unless you request another rate
- we’ll deduct child support from your Parental Leave Pay if we are required to do so
- you won’t 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 is a taxable payment.
It may affect your tax obligations, including:
- child support
- HECS liabilities
- Medicare Levy Surcharge
- public housing rent
- low income or other health care cards, or other associated concessions
- pensioner and beneficiary tax offsets, and
- dependent spouse, housekeeper and child-housekeeper tax offsets - you can’t get these during your Paid Parental Leave period; however, they may be available to you at the end of the period
Parental Leave Pay also affects the following payments and services.
Family Tax Benefit
You can receive Family Tax Benefit Part A during your Paid Parental Leave period if you’re eligible for it. However, you won’t receive Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement if you receive Parental Leave Pay.
You and your partner can’t receive Family Tax Benefit Part B during your Paid Parental Leave period. However, you may receive it at the end of your Paid Parental Leave period, if eligible.
Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay count as income in calculating Family Tax Benefit and other family assistance payments, such as Child Care Benefit. You should include any Paid Parental Leave scheme payments you expect to receive in your family income estimate.
Income support payments
Parental Leave Pay is counted as income when we consider your eligibility for Parenting Payment and other income support payments. This means you could get a reduced rate of income support while you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay or may no longer be eligible for an income support payment.
Read more about how Paid Parental Leave scheme payments are counted as income.
Parental Leave Pay is treated as income for child support purposes.
The Paid Parental Leave scheme provides you with paid parental leave but doesn’t give you an entitlement to leave.
It’s 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’re 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 can’t withdraw your entitlement to that leave while that agreement or law is in effect. The scheme doesn’t change any existing employer provided leave entitlements.
The Supporting Working Parents website provides information about your rights in the workplace while pregnant, during parental leave and when you return to the workplace.
National Employment Standards
Under the National Employment Standards in the Fair Work Act 2009, if you’ve been employed by your current employer for 12 months or more before the birth or adoption of a child, you may be entitled to unpaid parental leave.
Read more about your leave entitlements on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:
- find out what you need before you start your claim
- choose your claiming option
- submit your claim
- provide proof of birth or adoption
- we will 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.
Read more about using self service
If you do not tell us when your circumstances change, you may be doing the wrong thing.
If you have submitted your claim for Paid Parental Leave, you may request to change the start date as long as your Paid Parental Leave period hasn’t started.
If you have received advice from us that your claim has been assessed, you may request a change to your nominated start date using your Centrelink online account through myGov. Select Paid Parental Leave Circumstances once you’ve logged on.
If your claim hasn’t yet been assessed, please call the Families line.
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 decide to return to work early, the unused part of your Parental Leave Pay may be transferred to another person if they meet the eligibility criteria and make a claim for your unused Parental Leave Pay. Both claims must be submitted within 52 weeks from the date of birth or adoption.
Read more about transferring 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.
You must tell us if you decide to return to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period. You can tell us of your return to work up to 30 days before you recommence work using your Centrelink online account through myGov.
We’ll regard 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
If you have received advice from us that your claim has been assessed, or you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay, you may advise a return to work or a transfer of payment using your Centrelink online account through myGov. Select Paid Parental Leave Circumstances once you’ve logged on.
Under the Paid Parental Leave scheme you have the option, if you and your employer agree, to keep in touch with your workplace without losing your Parental Leave Pay.
If you receive a Parental Leave Pay overpayment, you'll 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 to help you manage your money if you have overdrawn your bank, building society or credit union account.
If you are an employer, read more about the Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers and how it might affect your business.
The Fair Work Ombudsman employee checklist can help make sure you have followed the required steps when requesting parental leave from your employer.
Select the options that describe your circumstances, then explore a 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.