How going back to work can affect your payment
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 Pay period.
You must tell us if you decide to go back to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period. Your payment will stop if you go back to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period.
We 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 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. The other person must submit their claim 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 Parental Leave Pay period and continue to receive Parental Leave Pay.
If your child needs to remain in hospital for a period of time immediately after their birth, and you return to work, you may be granted Parental Leave Pay if:
- you return to work 14 days or more after your child’s date of birth, and
- you stop working on or before the day your child is discharged from hospital
If you wish to return to work, call the Families line for further advice.
You can still receive payment if you’re required to return to work:
- to comply with a court ordered summons, or
- under a compulsory recall to duty (defence force and law enforcement officers).
Keeping in touch with your workplace
If you and your employer agree, you have the option to keep in touch with your workplace without losing your Parental Leave Pay.
You can access up to 10 Keeping in Touch days from when you become your child’s primary carer until the end of your Parental Leave Pay period. These 10 days don’t count as you having returned to work and won’t affect your payment.
A day of work is a Keeping in Touch day if the paid work you do to stay connected with your workplace or help you transition back into work.
A Keeping in Touch day could include:
- participating in a planning meeting
- performing on the job training, or
- performing work to become familiar with the workplace or your role before returning to work
A paid work activity of 1 hour or more on a day for the purpose of Keeping in Touch counts as 1 Keeping in Touch day. This counts towards the 10 day limit.
You can’t access a Keeping in Touch day within the first 2 weeks of the birth of your child. If you request or suggest a Keeping in Touch day and it’s more than 2 weeks after the birth, you can participate if your employer agrees. Your employer can’t ask you to participate in a Keeping in Touch day within the first 6 weeks after the birth or adoption.
Keeping in Touch days won’t extend your Parental Leave Pay period.
Work performed on a Keeping in Touch day will count as service and your employer must pay you for the time you work. A Keeping in Touch day may affect your workplace entitlements, such as leave accrual.
Resuming regular work activities other than Keeping in Touch days is considered to be returning to work. You’ll also be considered as having returned to work if you access more than 10 Keeping in Touch days before the end of your Parental Leave Pay period.
You have an obligation to tell us if you’ve returned to work during your Parental Leave Pay period. Your employer also has an obligation to notify us of this.
Under the National Employment Standards, accessing a Keeping in Touch day doesn’t affect your entitlement to 12 months unpaid parental leave.
Read more about Keeping in touch days on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Self employment and keeping an eye on your business
When you’re self employed, if needed, you can perform occasional tasks to keep an eye on your business or to ensure your business remains operational while you’re on leave.
For example, you could:
- pay an account
- check on the delivery of an order
- approve the business accounts
- deal with ad hoc disputes
- organise a repair
- organise replacement staff to manage your absence
- maintain a basic level of contact with clients, and
- keep your professional skills up to date
You can’t return to actively running or maintaining the daily operations of your business before the end of your Parental Leave Pay period. If you do, you’ll be regarded as having returned to work.
Page last updated: 13 May 2019