Work test

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

What work requirements are

To get Parental Leave Pay you need to have worked for both:

  • 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child
  • a total of 330 hours, around 1 day a week, in that 10 month period.

Keep in mind, we count 10 months as 295 days and 13 months as 392 days.

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 either:

  • a day when you have worked for at least 1 hour
  • paid leave, such as sick leave, annual leave and paid maternity leave.

We won’t count unpaid leave, including unpaid maternity leave.

Apart from full time work, you could also do any of the following:

  • 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
  • have worked overseas.

You can include your hours of work for a family business, even if it doesn’t make an income. However you must be working for financial gain or benefit, even if you’re not paid.

All of the following also count as work:

You can read more about:

When you're a self employed parent

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

You can include your hours of work, provided you’re undertaking the work for financial reward or gain. This includes businesses that don’t currently operate at a profit.

This includes all of the following:

  • providing goods and services for hire or reward
  • carrying on a business, including as a partnership or enterprise
  • working for a trust operating as a business.

What doesn't count as work

Work doesn't include any of the following:

  • periods of unpaid leave, including unpaid maternity leave
  • income support programs that include a work component
  • volunteer work
  • study through a scholarship or other award of financial aid
  • outstanding leave entitlements paid out as part of a redundancy.

What exceptions are there to the work test

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.

Pregnancy related illness or complications

You may meet the work test if you stopped work earlier than expected, as a direct result of your pregnancy. This may be because you either:

  • had a medical condition that got worse because of your pregnancy
  • developed an illness or complication with your pregnancy.

You’ll need to give us proof from both your doctor and your employer.

Proof from your doctor

You need to provide proof from your doctor or the hospital confirming:

  • what your illness or complication was
  • the date the illness or complication started
  • your illness or complication prevented or reduced your ability to work
  • your illness or complication related directly to your pregnancy.

For example, you need to prove that your pregnancy was the reason a pre-existing condition got worse.

Proof from your employer

You’ll also need to provide proof from your employer. This needs to include both:

  • the date you stopped working
  • that you would’ve kept working during the work test period if you didn’t experience the illness or complication.

Proof if you’re self employed

If you’re self employed, you need to prove your ability to work was reduced during the work test period. This may include you providing the following:

  • existing and new contracts
  • self-declaration of self-employment status and the intention for the business to continue
  • a letter or declaration from your accountant confirming past and expected future of business
  • notifications of change to business activity
  • employment of a staff member to perform your usual work activities.

Premature birth

There are exceptions if your child was born early. If this occurs, we include the work you would have performed up until your child's expected date of birth.

When you claim, you need to provide the following proof to confirm:

  • your child’s expected date of birth – from a doctor or hospital
  • the dates you had planned to work during your work test period – from your employer.

How to apply the work test

Paid leave from work

Alison had her baby on 18 August 2018. Her 13 month work test period is from 22 July 2017 to 17 August 2018. This is the day before she had her baby.

During that time Alison worked 38 hours per week full time and took 11 weeks of paid leave. She returned to work for 5 weeks after this leave. She then started 3 weeks paid maternity leave from 28 July 2018. Alison’s paid leave counts as work for the work test.

Alison worked for a 10 month period from 22 July 2017 to 12 May 2018. She worked more than 330 hours and didn’t have a gap of 8 weeks or more between work days.

Alison meets the work test.

Different employers

Jenna had her first child on 3 July 2018. Her 13 month work test period is from 6 June 2017 to 2 July 2018.

Jenna worked for a 10 month period from 6 June 2017 to 27 March 2018. During that time, Jenna worked for 3 employers.

Jenna was working in an office for 6 hours every Monday. She did a total of 258 hours from the beginning of her work test period until 27 March 2018.

Jenna worked as a server with casual hours. She calculated that between 6 June and 27 March she worked a total of 70 hours.

Jenna also worked as a swimming instructor for 3 hours per week. She did this for 4 weeks in February 2018 for a total of 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 illness or complications

Patricia was on unpaid leave for 2 years before she started full time work. She worked full time from 3 July 2017 to 1 February 2018. Her baby was due on 3 June 2018.

She planned to work until 4 May 2018, but had to stop work early because of pregnancy related complications. She had her baby prematurely on 30 May 2018.

Her 13 month work test period is from 3 May 2017 to 29 May 2018. The test period ends the day before she had her baby, not the day before her baby was due.

Patricia’s 10 month period is from 3 July 2017. In this period Patricia worked more than 330 hours. However, there’s more than an 8 week gap between 2 work days.

Patricia gave us evidence that her doctor told her to stop work. She also gave us evidence from her employer that she’d planned to work until 4 May 2018.

Patricia meets the work test.

Premature birth

Denise was working 8 hours per week since 4 September 2017.

Denise’s baby was due on 4 August 2018 but she had her baby prematurely on 22 May 2018. Her 13 month work test period is from 25 April 2017 to 21 May 2018. The test period ends the day before she had her baby, not the day before her baby was due.

Denise calculated that she worked 296 hours from 4 September 2017 to 21 May 2018. This is less than 330 hours in the 10 month period.

Denise intended to work up to 25 June 2018, more than 6 weeks before her due date. This would have resulted in her working additional hours and meant she worked over 330 hours.

Denise gave us evidence from her doctor of her child’s expected due date. She also gave us evidence from her employer that she planned to continue working up to 25 June. The evidence included the number of hours Denise would have worked..

Denise meets the work test.

Previous Parental Leave Pay period

Sadie was on maternity leave for her first child. She got Parental Leave Pay for the period from 24 April to 28 August 2017.

Sadie returned to work on 30 August 2017 for 35 hours per week. She stopped work on 2 May 2018 to have her second child.

Sadie had her second child on 26 May 2018. Her 13 month work test period is from 29 April 2017 to 25 May 2018.

Sadie can include her previous period of Parental Leave Pay and her paid work towards the work test. This means she has worked more than 330 hours in the 10 month period from 12 July 2017 to 2 May 2018. There was also no more than an 8 week gap between work days.

Sadie meets the work test.

Self employment

Lisa runs a business from home, which she started in March 2017. Due to start up and running costs, Lisa hasn’t made a profit from her business yet. She worked at least 4 days per week for 5 hours per day.

Lisa had her first child on 30 April 2018. Her 13 month work test period is from 3 April 2017 to 29 April 2018.

She worked for a 10 months period from 3 April 2017 to 22 January 2018. During this time she worked more than 330 hours without more than an 8 week gap.

Lisa meets the work test.

Page last updated: 13 May 2019

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