Parental Leave Pay

A short term payment while you’re on leave from work to care for your new child.

Eligibility basics

  • be the main carer of a newborn or newly adopted child
  • under the income test limit
  • on leave or not working
  • have done enough work in the 13 months before to meet the work test

Eligibility & payment rates

Eligibility

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

Read more about eligibility for Parental Leave Pay

Work test

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

Read more about the work test for Parental Leave Pay

Residence rules

To get Parental Leave Pay, you must satisfy residence rules. When your child is born or adopted you must be living in Australia and either:

To keep getting Parental Leave Pay

You must continue to meet the residence rules for as long as you get this payment.

Adjusted taxable income

Your adjusted taxable income will be used to assess your eligibility for some payments, supplements, support and benefits.

Read more about adjusted taxable income

Transferring Parental Leave Pay

You may be able to transfer some or all of your Parental Leave Pay to another eligible person.

Read more about transferring Parental Leave Pay

Payment rate

Parental Leave Pay is currently $695.00 per week before tax. This is based on the weekly rate of the national minimum wage. We can pay it directly or your employer can pay it to you. You can receive Parental Leave Pay for up to 18 weeks.

Your partner may also be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay for up to 2 weeks. This means your family can receive a total of up to 20 weeks pay.

If you’re eligible to receive 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.

Payment start date

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.

Example

Karli gave birth on 2 November 2017 and submitted her claim and proof of birth on 10 November 2017. Karli requests her start date as her child’s date of birth, 2 November 2017. When Karli’s claim was granted, her first payment was paid into her bank account on 19 November 2017. However, arrears were paid and the payment was backdated to 2 November 2017.

Receiving payment

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

Effect on existing payments and entitlements

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.

Child support

Parental Leave Pay is treated as income for child support purposes.

Your leave entitlements

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.

Changes if you receive family payments

A number of changes affect you if you receive family payments.

Read more about changes to family payments

Claiming

Once you have read about eligibility the next steps are:

  1. find out what you need before you start your claim
  2. choose your claiming option
  3. submit your claim
  4. provide proof of birth or adoption
  5. we will assess your claim and let you know the outcome

Next

Managing your payment

Try self service

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.

Change of circumstances

If you do not tell us when your circumstances change, you may be doing the wrong thing.

Read more about reporting your change of circumstances

Changing your nominated start date

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.

Returning to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period

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.

Keeping in Touch with your workplace

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.

Read more about Keeping in Touch with your workplace

Overpayments

If you receive a Parental Leave Pay overpayment, you'll have to repay the money.

Read more about Parental Leave Pay overpayments

While travelling outside Australia

To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Parental Leave Pay.

Read more about Parental Leave Pay while travelling outside Australia

My bank account is overdrawn

You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.

Read more about what to do if your account is overdrawn

Resources

Information for employers

If you are an employer, read more about the Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers and how it might affect your business.

Parental leave and the Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman can help you make sure you’ve followed the required steps when requesting parental leave from your employer. They also have information about applying for parental leave, related entitlements and facts.

Read more on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Payment and Service Finder

Find, estimate and compare payments and services you may be eligible for. You can also work out what a change in circumstance might mean for the payments and services you currently receive from us.

Start using Payment and Service Finder

Manage your money

 

We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Regular deductions using Centrepay

You can use our free and voluntary service to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.

Read more about regular deductions using Centrepay

Page last updated: 11 September 2017