To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you need to meet the work test or receive an exemption.
To receive Parental Leave Pay you need to have worked for at least:
- 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child, and
- 330 hours, around 1 day a week, in that 10 month period
You can’t have more than an 8 week gap between each work day.
Some exemptions apply for pregnancy related illness, complications and premature birth.
What counts as work
A working day is:
- a day when you have worked for at least 1 hour, or
- paid leave
Unpaid leave isn’t included.
Apart from full time work, you could also:
- be a part time, casual or seasonal worker
- be a contractor or self employed
- work in a family business
- have multiple employers
- have recently changed jobs or left a job, 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 an income. You must be working for financial gain or benefit, even if you’re not being paid.
The following also counts as work:
- previous periods of Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay - each weekday counts as 7.6 hours
- employment at an Australian Disability Enterprise - read more 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
- jury service
- Defence Reservist work, or
- periods of work or accident compensation or similar payment related to employment
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.
- 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
What doesn't count as work
Work doesn't include:
- periods of unpaid leave
- income support programs that include a work component; for example, Work for the Dole
- volunteer work
- study through a scholarship or other award of financial aid, and
- outstanding leave entitlements paid out as part of a redundancy
If you have pregnancy related complications or a premature birth you may still meet the work test. You need to show that without pregnancy related complications or the premature birth you would have met the test.
Examples of the work test
Paid leave from work
Alison stopped working on 25 March 2017, and she expected her first child to be born on 16 April 2017. Her 13 month work test period is calculated from 19 March 2016 to 15 April 2017 - 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 2016 and 22 December 2016 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 2017.
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 2016 to 15 April 2017. 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.
Jenna had her first baby on 2 May 2017. Her 13 month work test period is calculated from 5 April 2016 to 1 May 2017.
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 2017 – 252 hours
- as a waitress with casual hours - she calculated that in a 10 month period between 5 April 2016 and 24 January 2017 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 2016 – 12 hours
Jenna can include her work with each employer towards the work test.
Jenna has worked more than 330 hours in the work test period. There isn’t a gap of 8 weeks or more between 2 working days in the 10 month period. Jenna meets the work test.
Pregnancy related complications
Patricia returned to work full time as a nurse on 30 June 2016 after taking 2 years of unpaid leave to care for her first child. Her second child was due on 3 June 2017.
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 2017. Patricia had intended to work up to 4 May 2017, but her pregnancy related complications stopped her from doing this. Her baby is born on 30 May 2017.
Patricia’s 10 month period started on 14 July 2016 until 4 May 2017.
Patricia didn’t work after 31 January 2017. This would normally mean she doesn’t meet the work test because there is more than an 8 week gap between 2 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 2017.
Patricia meets the work test.
Denise has worked 8 hours per week since 12 August 2016.
Denise’s third child is due on 15 July 2017 but is born prematurely on 2 May 2017.
When checking her work test details for the period 12 July 2016 to 2 May 2017, 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 2017, 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 Paid Parental Leave period
Sadie had her first child on 15 October 2015 and received Parental Leave Pay for the period from 1 February 2016 to 6 June 2016.
Sadie returned to work as a cleaner on 8 June 2016 for 35 hours per week until she went on maternity leave on 8 February 2017 to have her second child. This was an 8 month period of work.
Sadie’s second child was born on 4 March 2017.
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.
Lisa gives birth to her first child on 1 May 2017. Her 13 month work test period is from 4 April 2016 to 30 April 2017.
She runs a beautician business from home, which she started in March 2016. 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.