Parental Leave Pay
A short term payment while you’re on leave from work to care for your new child.
- be the primary carer of a newborn or newly adopted child
- individually earned less than $150,000 in the last financial year
- be on leave or not working whilst receiving Parental Leave Pay
- have done enough work in the 13 months before to meet the work test
Who can receive Parental Leave Pay
To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you need to meet certain criteria.
Who can receive it
You must be:
- the birth mother of a newborn child
- the adoptive parent of a child, or
- another person caring for a child under exceptional circumstances
You also need to:
- meet a work test
- have earned an individual adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year before the birth or adoption or the date you lodge your claim, whichever is earlier
- be on leave or not working from your child’s birth or adoption until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period, and
- meet resident rules and be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
You may also be able to receive Parental Leave Pay if you’re:
- the partner of the child’s birth mother or adoptive parent and they transfer their Parental Leave Pay and care of the child to you
- unable to care for your child for a short time during your payment period, or
- the birth mother and no longer have care of the child due to adoption or surrogacy
You may be able to receive Parental Leave Pay as an adoptive parent. This can include when you’ve had a child placed in your care through a formal foster arrangement with a view to adopt the child.
If you’re not eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you may still be eligible for Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement.
In the case of stillbirth or the death of a child you may be able to get either Parental Leave Pay or Stillborn Baby Payment.
Who can’t receive it
You can’t get Parental Leave Pay if:
- you don’t meet the eligibility criteria
- you’re receiving Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement for the same child
- you’re a temporary foster carer and the child is temporarily entrusted to your care, or
- you return to work before your Paid Parental Leave period starts
If you get Parental Leave Pay, you can’t also receive Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement for the same child.
Exceptional circumstances must apply for you to be eligible for Parental Leave Pay without the birth mother or adoptive parent being eligible.
If the birth mother or adoptive parent is unable to care for the child, another person may claim Parental Leave Pay. This is usually in situations such as severe illness or a serious accident.
In exceptional circumstances you may be able to get Parental Leave Pay if you have had a child come into your care within 52 weeks of their birth or adoption and:
- you’ll care for the child for at least 26 weeks
- the child hasn’t been placed into your care as part of a decision made by a state or territory child protection agency
- the child’s birth mother or adoptive parent and their partner are incapable of caring for the child for at least 26 weeks or other approved circumstances exist where it is reasonable that they care for the child.
If you’re eligible under exceptional circumstances, you may be eligible for up to 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay while you take time off work to care for the child. If someone has already started to get Parental Leave Pay and you haven’t met the work test or income test, you may still be eligible for the portion of Parental Leave Pay that was remaining when the initial primary carer stopped being eligible.
Transferring Parental Leave Pay
You may be able to transfer some or all of your Parental Leave Pay to another eligible person.
If you’re the birth mother or adoptive parent, you may be able to transfer some or all of your Parental Leave Pay to another eligible person. This could be because you:
- return to work, or
- are no longer the primary carer for your child
You can transfer your Parental Leave Pay to:
- your partner
- the other legal parent of your child, or
- the partner of your child’s other legal parent
To transfer your payment, you and the person you're transferring to must first claim, and be eligible for, Parental Leave Pay.
You can tell us you want to transfer your Parental Leave Pay in your claim. If you’ve already submitted your claim, you should call the Families line.
Transferring part of your Parental Leave Pay
You can receive some Parental Leave Pay as the initial primary carer, and then transfer the balance to another eligible person.
You and the second carer can only get Parental Leave Pay for a continuous period of up to 18 weeks. This means:
- when the first carer’s Paid Parental Leave period ends, the second carer’s Paid Parental Leave period begins immediately
- there can’t be a gap between the 2 Paid Parental Leave periods, and
- the second carer’s Paid Parental Leave period will end, at the latest, 18 weeks after the first carer’s Paid Parental Leave period began
- the second carer would take over primary care of the child on the day their Paid Parental Leave period would begin
- the second carer cannot work during their Paid Parental Leave period.
If you’re the birth mother or adoptive parent of the child, you can tell us that you are going to transfer part of your Parental Leave Pay in your claim. You can also tell us by contacting us after you have claimed.
The second carer can claim up to the 52 weeks from the child’s date or birth or adoption and be paid back for their Paid Parental Leave period in the past.
Transferring all of your Parental Leave Pay
If you’re the birth mother or adoptive parent of a child, you can transfer all your Parental Leave Pay to another eligible person.
To transfer all of your Parental Leave Pay:
- the first carer must claim and meet the work test, income test, and residency tests
- the second carer must claim and meet all eligibility requirements
- the first carer and the second carer need to lodge separate claims around the same time as each other
- the first carer will nominate a Paid Parental Leave period start date for the second carer
- if the first carer claims or provides the child’s proof of birth or adoption more than 28 days after the child’s birth or adoption, the first carer can only nominate a Paid Parental Leave period start date on or after the date they claim
- if the Paid Parental Leave period begins after the child’s date of birth or adoption, the first carer must not work while they have primary care of the child.
- the second carer must not work from the day they receive primary care of the child from the first carer until the end of the Paid Parental Leave period.
Examples of transferring Parental Leave Pay
Transferring part of Parental Leave Pay
Zia’s Paid Parental Leave period starts from her child’s date of birth on 4 May 2017. Zia returns to work on 15 June 2017, when her child is 6 weeks old. Her partner, Ravi, takes leave from work and has primary care of their child from 15 June 2017.
To transfer the remaining 12 weeks Parental Leave Pay to Ravi, Zia must tell us that she has returned to work and that she would like to transfer her remaining payment to Ravi. This can be done using the Centrelink online account through myGov.
Ravi submits a claim and is eligible for Parental Leave Pay. Ravi will get Parental Leave Pay for 12 weeks, from 15 June 2017 to 6 September 2017.
Transferring all Parental Leave Pay
Karen gives birth to her daughter, Alexandra, on 12 August 2017. Her partner, Lionel, has primary care of their child from birth. Karen claims Parental Leave Pay on 20 August 2017 and meets the work and income tests and residency requirements. She elects to transfer her full payment to Lionel and nominates that the Paid Parental Leave period should start on 1 October 2017.
Lionel also claims Parental Leave Pay on 20 August 2017. He meets the work and income tests and residency requirements. He indicates that he has had primary care of Alexandra from her birth. Lionel stopped working before Alexandra was born and plans to return to work on 1 January 2018. Lionel is found eligible and his Paid Parental Leave period is from 1 October to 31 December 2017.
Lionel receives less than the maximum 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay. If Karen had chosen an earlier Paid Parental Leave period start date, Lionel may have been eligible to receive the maximum 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay.
Kym had a child, Tyler, on 4 July 2015. Kym submits a claim for Parental Leave Pay on 30 July 2015 and indicates she would like to transfer all of her Parental Leave Pay to her partner, Keith. Kym had primary care of Tyler from birth, until she returned to work on 20 July 2015. On 19 July 2015, Keith stopped work and took over primary care of Tyler. In Kym’s claim, she indicated that she would like the Paid Parental Leave period to start on 20 July 2015 for Keith.
Kym met the work and income tests and residency requirements. She was also eligible for Parental Leave Pay for each day she had primary care of Tyler.
Keith submits a claim and is found eligible from 20 July 2015. He meets the work and income tests and residency requirements. He also meets the eligibility criteria for each day from when he gains primary care of Tyler, until the end of the Paid Parental Leave period. Keith receives the full 18 weeks of payment.
How much you need to have worked to get Parental Leave Pay
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 or Green Army
- volunteer work
- study through a scholarship or other award of financial aid, and
- outstanding leave entitlements paid out as part of a redundancy
Exceptions to working
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.
How you'll be paid
In most cases your payment will be made into your bank account by your employer. Otherwise we’ll pay you directly.
When your employer pays you
Your employer will make your payments into your bank account in your normal pay cycle.
You’ll be paid Parental Leave Pay by your employer if:
- you have worked for them for at least 1 year before the birth or adoption of your child
- you will stay with that employer until the end of your Paid Parental Leave period
- you are working for an Australian based employer, and
- you expect to get paid 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, your employer will need to register with us and opt in to provide Parental Leave Pay before you submit your claim. Your employer:
- will withhold Pay As You Go tax (PAYG) at the usual rate
- will deduct child support from your payment, if required to do so, and
- isn’t required to make additional superannuation contributions, but may do so if they wish.
You can arrange for any deductions to be made if needed.
You can salary package, also known as salary sacrifice, some or all of your payment. Read more about salary sacrificing on the Australian Taxation Office website.
When we pay you
We’ll pay you if:
- you don’t have a job
- your employer doesn’t pay your Parental Leave Pay
- you’re self employed, or
- you or your partner get an income support payment from us
We’ll make your payments into your bank account every 2 weeks.
From your payment:
- we’ll withhold Pay As You Go tax (PAYG) at the rate of 15%, unless you request another rate
- we’ll deduct child support if we are required to do so
- you can voluntarily request for a family assistance debt to be deducted, and
- you can arrange for other deductions to be made through Centrepay.
We’re unable to provide salary sacrifice.
2. Payment rates
How much you can receive - Parental Leave Pay
Parental Leave Pay is currently $695.00 per week before tax. This is based on the weekly rate of the national minimum wage.
You can receive Parental Leave Pay for up to 18 weeks. We can pay it directly or your employer can pay it to you.
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.
As an individual, 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.
When you’ll start receiving your payment depends on when you complete your claim. Read more about the payment start date.
How going back to work can affect your Parental Leave Pay
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.
How your existing payments and entitlements are affected
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, and
- pensioner and beneficiary tax offsets
Parental Leave Pay also affects the following payments and services.
Family assistance payments
You can receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) 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 unless you have twins or a multiple birth.
You and your partner can’t receive FTB 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 assistance payments. This includes FTB and Child Care Benefit. You should include any Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay 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 income support payments. This means you could get a reduced rate of income support while you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay. In some cases, you 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 payments
Parental Leave Pay is treated as income for child support purposes.
How Parental Leave Pay affects your leave from work
The Paid Parental Leave scheme provides you with a parental leave payment but doesn’t give you an entitlement to leave from work.
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 receive Parental Leave Pay as well as any of your existing employer provided paid or unpaid leave.
You can take Parental Leave Pay before, during or after any paid or unpaid employer funded leave. This includes maternity or parental leave, 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.
3. Claiming Parental Leave Pay
When to claim for Parental Leave Pay
It’s best to claim Parental Leave Pay before your baby is born or adopted. You need to claim before your baby turns 1.
To receive the full 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay, you need to claim and nominate a start date no more than 34 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child.
Up to 3 months before your baby’s due date
It’s best to put in a claim before your baby is born.
By claiming early you’ll:
- be able to choose when your Paid Parental Leave period starts after your baby’s birth or adoption
- be assessed faster
- get back paid to your child’s date of birth or adoption, if you choose to do so
You’ll need to submit proof of your child’s birth or adoption within 4 weeks of the child coming into your care. If you don’t, you can’t be back paid to the date of birth or adoption.
After your child is born or adopted
Within 4 weeks of your baby’s birth
If you claim within 4 weeks of your baby’s birth, it might take a little longer for us to assess your claim.
- be able to choose when your Paid Parental Leave period will start
- be back paid to your nominated Paid Parental Leave period start date
- get back paid to your child’s date of birth or adoption, if you choose to do so
4 to 34 weeks after your baby’s birth
To receive the full 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay, you need to submit your claim within 34 weeks of your child’s birth date.
If you claim between 4 weeks and 34 weeks after your baby is born, you:
- will be able to choose for your Paid Parental Leave period to start on or after the date you lodge your claim
- will be back paid to your nominated Paid Parental Leave period start date
- won’t be able to nominate the date of birth or adoption as your start date
34 to 52 weeks after your baby’s birth
You can only receive Parental Leave Pay within 1 year (52 weeks) of your baby’s birth.
If you submit a claim after 34 weeks, you:
- will be able to choose for your Paid Parental Leave period to start on or after the date you lodge your claim
- will be back paid to your nominated Paid Parental Leave period start date
- won’t be able to nominate the date of birth or adoption as your start date
- will not get the full 18 weeks of pay
For example, if you claim 35 weeks after your child is born, the most you can get is 17 weeks of pay. If you claim at 40 weeks, the most you can get is 12 weeks of pay.
Information you'll need to provide to claim Parental Leave Pay
You’ll need to provide certain documents before and after your baby is born.
When you claim online, we’ll tell you what supporting documents you need to provide to complete your claim.
When you claim Parental Leave Pay you’ll need:
- your Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN)
- your employer's Australian Business Number (ABN)
- your employer’s contact details
- your bank account details
- your Tax File Number (TFN)
- information about your Australian residency – for example, citizenship papers, passport or other documentation
- details of periods when you have lived outside Australia
- your income details for the financial year either before the date of your claim, or before your child’s date of birth or adoption – whichever is earlier
- details of your work over the last 13 months, including hours worked and any unpaid leave you took
- proof of your child’s birth or adoption if you are claiming after your child was born or entered your care
During your claim, you might need to provide some supporting documents. The quickest way is to take a photo of each document and upload it using the Express Plus Centrelink app.
After your child is born or enters your care
You need to give us proof of birth or adoption as soon as possible so we can finalise your claim. You have several options for giving us proof of birth or adoption.
If you give us proof of birth or adoption more than 4 weeks after your child is born or is adopted into your care, we can’t backdate your payment.
When your Parental Leave Pay will start
Your start date is the start of your Parental Leave Pay entitlement period. It’s not the date you’ll receive your first payment.
Nominating a start date
You nominate a start date in your claim. Your start date can’t be before the date of birth or adoption.
You can nominate the date of birth or adoption as the start date. To do this, you need to submit your claim and provide proof of birth or adoption within 4 weeks after the birth or adoption.
If you submit your claim or provide proof of birth or adoption more than 4 weeks after the birth or adoption, the start date can only be from the date you submitted your claim.
You can also nominate a later start date.
To receive the full 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay, you need to nominate a start date that’s within 34 weeks of your child’s birth or adoption.
Receiving your first payment
You need to provide proof of birth or adoption so we can finalise your claim.
You’ll receive your first payment after your nominated start date. It will include any arrears you’re entitled to.
If we’re paying your Parental Leave Pay directly to you
If you’ve provided proof of birth and your claim has been finalised, you’ll generally receive your first payment 14 days after the start date.
If your employer is paying you Parental Leave Pay
When we finalise your claim we’ll give them the funds. Once they receive them, you’ll usually be paid on your next regular payday after your nominated start date.
It could take longer if your employer receives the funds after their payroll cut off. In these cases, you’ll receive your payment on the following payday.
4. Managing your payment Parental Leave Pay
How to keep us up to date
If you don’t tell us about changes in your circumstances you risk losing your payment or getting a debt.
You need to tell us if you:
- go back to work
- are no longer employed
- are no longer your child’s primary carer
- change your address
- leave Australia, even for a short time, or return to Australia
To update your details:
If your claim hasn’t been assessed yet, call the Families line.
How to change your nominated start date
If you’ve submitted your claim for Parental Leave Pay, you may request to change the start date. You can’t change your state date if your Paid Parental Leave period has started.
Additional payments and support
As a new parent, you may be able to get other payments and support.
After your baby is born you may be able to get financial support for the costs of child care.
If you’re on a low income, you may be able to get:
Your partner may be able to get Dad and Partner Pay.
If your child is with disability
You may be eligible for additional payments and services:
- Carer Allowance
- Carer Payment
- Child Disability Assistance Payment
- Essential Medical Equipment Payment
- Youth Disability Supplement
We also provide support with living costs such as:
- help with your rent
- health care card to help with visits to the doctor
- telephone allowance to help with home phone and internet costs
To find help for new parents in your area go to the Payment and Service Finder.
Parental Leave Pay overpayments
If you receive a Parental Leave Pay overpayment, you'll have to repay the money.
You may be overpaid Parental Leave Pay because your circumstances changed. This could happen, for example, if you returned to work before the end of your Paid Parental Leave period and were no longer entitled to receive the payments but we weren’t notified.
When we become aware that you have been overpaid, we’ll send you an Account Payable notice advising you of the amount of overpayment. You’ll have to repay that amount using one of the repayment options included in the notice. You may want to contact us to discuss repayment options or your review and appeal rights.
You’ll have to repay the gross amount. Your repayment amount will include the net amount of Parental Leave Pay you received from your employer and the Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholdings paid by your employer to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for Parental Leave Pay.
Getting a refund of PAYG withholdings when an overpayment occurs
From your employer or from us
If we were paying you directly and you request a refund of the PAYG withholding amount in the same financial year in which the overpayment occurred, we can recover the PAYG withholding amount from the ATO and reduce your gross debt by this amount.
If you were getting the payment from your employer, we’ll recover the gross amount of the overpayment from you. You can then request a refund of the PAYG withholding amount from your employer if it’s still the same financial year in which the overpayment occurred. Your employer will have to refund the PAYG withholding amount to you.
From the ATO
If the overpayment occurred in a previous financial year, you'll need to recover the PAYG withholding amount from the ATO yourself, regardless of whether you received the overpayment from us or your employer.
If your income assessment has not been completed by the ATO, you can receive an offset of the overpaid PAYG withholding amount in the calculation of your tax return.
If the ATO has completed your income assessment, you should apply in writing to the ATO for an amended income assessment. You should provide the ATO with a copy of the Account Payable notice you received from us.
If an overpayment spans 2 financial years, each of the 2 processes described above will apply to the portion of the debt that occurred in the relevant financial year.
Parental Leave Pay is a taxable payment and you’ll receive a payment summary either from us or from your employer, depending on who provided Parental Leave Pay.
If you received an overpayment and we provided Parental Leave Pay, we’ll issue an amended payment summary to you.
If you received an overpayment and your employer was providing Parental Leave Pay, they’ll need to assess and amend your payment summary. If your employer hasn’t issued you with a payment summary for the financial year the overpayment occurred, your employer is required to adjust their payroll record so that the overpaid amount is not reported as income on your payment summary.
If your employer has issued you with a payment summary for the financial year the overpayment occurred, your employer is required, within 28 days of becoming aware of the overpayment, to give you:
- an amended payment summary, or
- a letter containing relevant information about the overpayment for you to provide to the ATO
The arrangements for the amendment of payment summaries are similar to those that apply to overpaid salary or wages.
Read more about PAYG on the ATO website or speak with your employer.
5. Impacts to your payment
Changes if you receive family payments
A number of changes affect you if you receive family payments.
From 23 May 2018
These changes will affect separated families. You may be affected if you:
- pay child support
- receive child support, or
- receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB)
In most cases you don’t need to do anything. We’ll always tell you if you do.
Interim care periods
If a child’s care arrangements change from a written care arrangement, and the care change is disputed, an interim period may apply. This will affect disputed care changes for child support and FTB.
We use the amount of care in the written care arrangement during the interim period. This is used to work out a person’s percentage of care. When the interim care period ends, we use the actual amount of care each parent provides.
Interim care periods can be between 4 and 52 weeks long.
Amended tax assessments
If the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) amends your taxable income, we may use this to update your child support assessment. We can use the new income for both paying and receiving parents to update child support assessments.
If you’re receiving Family Tax Benefit (FTB)
You need to make sure each child you’re receiving FTB for meets the immunisation requirements. If they don’t, your FTB Part A payments may be reduced by up to $28.28 per fortnight, per child.
We’ll contact you if your child doesn’t meet immunisation requirements. We’ll let you know what you need to do before your payments are affected.
Pauses to indexation
We won’t increase the following until 1 July 2020:
If you’re receiving FTB Part A and an income support payment
Income test exemptions
We’ll use your family income estimate to work out your FTB Part A payment rate. This means your FTB Part A payment may go down or stop for the period your income support payment is reduced to zero.
If we ask you to give us a family income estimate, you need to do this within 21 days. If you don’t, we’ll cancel your FTB Part A.
Your child’s payment may also be affected if we use your income to work out your dependent child’s payment rate of:
- Youth Allowance
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- ABSTUDY School Fees Allowance (Group 2)
- Assistance for Isolated Children Additional Boarding Allowance
If you’re receiving family assistance and withdraw superannuation for your first home
We won’t count superannuation withdrawals made under the First Home Super Saver Scheme as taxable income. This means it won’t affect your:
- family assistance payments
- dependant student payments
- child care fee assistance
- child support assessments in most cases, and
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
If you’re receiving Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay
If you’re a separated family
Child support agreements
A child support agreement will end or be suspended for a child when:
- the receiving parent under the agreement has less than 35% care, and
- the other parent has at least 35% care of the child
In some cases, an agreement may be suspended for a period after the care change. The length of the suspension period will depend on your circumstances. If care changes back during the suspension period so the parent again has at least 35% care of the child, the agreement will restart.
Child support may still be payable for the child when we suspend or end an agreement. This depends on how your child support assessment started. If there was a formula-based assessment, child support will be payable for the child. If there wasn’t a formula-based assessment, no child support will be payable for the child. If we suspend or end your agreement we’ll tell you how this will affect you.
Binding child support agreements made before 1 July 2008
If one of the parents didn’t receive legal advice when making the agreement, a court can end the agreement if it would be unfair not to.
Child support overpayments
In most cases, if you’re receiving child support and you’ve been paid too much, this money must be paid back. If the money isn’t voluntarily repaid, we’ll enforce collection. This may include:
- recovering amounts from your ongoing child support
- asking your employer to deduct amounts from your pay
- deducting part of your Centrelink payments, and
- using all or part of your tax refund to repay the overpayment
Change in circumstances
You must tell us if your circumstances change. This includes changes to care arrangements.
If you don’t tell us about the care change within 28 days and:
- your care has decreased, we’ll use that information in the assessment from the date the change occurred, or
- your care has increased, we’ll use that information from the date we found out about the change
We’ll only update income for periods before July 2008 in limited cases.
If you need assistance with child care fees before 2 July, you can claim for Child Care Benefit (CCB). When you claim online we’ll ask you some extra questions in your CCB claim so we can assess you for CCS. If you’re eligible for both payments, you’ll receive CCB until 1 July 2018 and CCS from 2 July 2018.
If you don’t need assistance with child care fees until after 2 July 2018, you can claim CCS online now. We won’t start paying the new subsidy until 2 July 2018.
Parental Leave Pay while travelling outside Australia
To get your payment while outside Australia you must continue to meet the qualification rules for Parental Leave Pay.
There are rules about whether your Parental Leave Pay can be paid when you travel outside Australia.
Rules for Parental Leave Pay outside Australia
If you leave Australia to live in another country, your Parental Leave Pay will stop.
If you are an Australian citizen or hold a permanent visa or special category visa and you leave Australia temporarily, you will continue to receive Parental Leave Pay so long as you remain qualified and your absence does not exceed 56 weeks.
You may be paid outside Australia for a negotiated period of up to 6 weeks if you hold one of the following visas:
- a Partner Provisional visa subclass 309 or visa subclass 820
- a Safe Haven Enterprise visa subclass 790, or
- a Temporary Protection visa subclass 785 granted on or after 16 December 2014
for the following approved reasons:
- to attend an acute family crisis, for example to visit a family member who is critically ill
- for humanitarian reasons, for example to adopt a child or attend custody proceedings, or
- to receive eligible medical treatment that is not available in Australia
If you leave Australia without an approved reason, your payment will stop when you leave and cannot restart.
Most temporary protection type visa holders cannot be paid Parental Leave Pay outside Australia for any reason.
If you leave Australia and your Parental Leave Pay stops even for 1 day, it cannot be restarted when you return to Australia.
If you're a member of the Australian Defence Force deployed overseas or the Australian Federal Police engaged in peacekeeping or capacity building activities overseas, you may be eligible for an extension of your Parental Leave Pay for up to 3 years.
When to tell us about your travel
You should tell us if you are leaving Australia and:
- are going to live in another country
- will be away for more than 6 weeks
- have not been back in Australia for 6 weeks since your last return, or
- hold a partner provisional visa or temporary protection type visa
Otherwise you do not need to tell us that you are leaving Australia. Australia's immigration department will advise us when you leave Australia and when you return.
Read more about payments while outside Australia.
6. Resources Parental Leave Pay
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.
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.
Payment and Service Finder
Select the options that describe your circumstances, then explore a list of possible Centrelink and Medicare payments and services online.
Payment and Service Finder can help you work out amounts of:
- Centrelink payments, including pensions and allowances
- Family Tax Benefit
- Child care fee assistance
To work out how much money you may get, answer the questions and choose a payment you want to estimate.
Manage your money
We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.
- how our payments and services may help you manage your money day to day
- how to manage money and debt
- about how borrowing and credit can help you better manage your money
- ways to manage your money to build savings
Read about how to manage your money.
If you owe us money, you'll need to pay us back.
If you owe us money but don’t get a Centrelink payment, avoid an interest charge. Use Money You Owe to pay in full or set up payment arrangements.
Letting you know
We’ll tell you if you owe us money. We'll send you a letter which will tell you:
- why you owe the money
- the amount you owe
- when you need to pay the amount due, and
- how you can make the payment
Also, we may call you to talk about your debt and how to pay it. We may send you an SMS or ask you to call us back on one of our Debt Recovery phone numbers. These numbers are genuine and aren't a scam. Learn more about how to identify scams and stay safe.
It’s important to keep us informed of changes to your address while you’re paying back your Centrelink debt. Read more about change of circumstances.
Payment of Centrelink debts
If you get a Centrelink payment
We may reduce your payment to help you pay back your debt. The standard rate is 15% of your income support payment. If you have other income, such as earnings from employment or investments, the repayment rate can be higher. Different rates apply to other payment types.
You may not be able to get an advance payment until you have repaid your debt. Read more about an advance payment.
10% Recovery Fee
A 10% recovery fee will apply to your payment if you:
- refuse or don’t give us information about your income, or
- give us false or misleading information about your income
This fee relates to the following payments:
- Newstart Allowance
- Youth Allowance
- Disability Support Pension
- Wife Pension
- Widows B Pension
- Parenting Payment single
Payment rate change
If we agree to a lower rate, it will only be for 3 months. After this time we'll review the rate based on your income and assets.
If your payment rate is going to change, we’ll send you a letter before the new rate starts.
If you no longer get a Centrelink payment
We can ask you to pay off your Centrelink debts at any time, even if you no longer receive an income support payment.
You can use the Money You Owe service to pay your debt in full or to set up a payment arrangement.
To do this, sign in to your Centrelink online account through myGov and select Money You Owe.
There are different ways you can repay your debt, some options are:
|Direct debit||To arrange automatic deductions from your bank account, use myGov to access the Money You Owe service in your Centrelink online account.|
You can make payments using BPAY by phone or internet banking. You can access this service through your bank.
The Biller code is 21915. Your reference number is on your Account Payable letter or any other letters you get from us that have payment options displayed.
If your bank allows you to make a BPAY payment from your credit card, you can do so. However, your bank may charge you additional fees or interest. You should check this before making a payment.
You can make a payment in person at any Australia Post office or postal outlet using EFTPOS, cash, cheque or money order. Use the barcode on your Account Payable letter or any other letters you get from us that have payment options displayed. You can also get a barcode from the Money You Owe section of your Centrelink online account or Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.
You may also request a payment card to allow you to make regular payments at any Australia Post office or postal outlet. To arrange for us to issue you a card, call the Centrelink debt line 1800 076 072, or if you're Indigenous, call the Indigenous debt line.
You can also make a payment through Australia Post’s POSTbillpay service. The Billpay Code is 0802. Your reference number is on your Account Payable letter or any other letters you get from us that have payment options displayed.
If you can’t pay online, call Australia Post’s POSTbillpay line on 131 816 to make a payment.
Our debt recovery numbers are:
- Centrelink debt recovery line - 1800 076 072 or 1800 462 425
- Indigenous debt recovery line - 1800 138 193
Failure to pay
If you don’t pay your debt by the due date, we may ask the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to send us your tax refund. If we do we’ll send you a Recovery of your Centrelink debt letter.
If you aren’t repaying your debt over time or if we haven’t agreed to extend the payment time, we may also:
- add an interest charge to your debt
- refer your debt to an external collection agency
- reduce your income support payments to help pay the amount owing
- recover the amount from your wages, other income and assets, including money you may hold in a bank account
- refer your case to our solicitors for legal action
- issue a Departure Prohibition Order to stop you from travelling overseas.
Interest rates and charges
The rate of interest we apply to your debt is consistent with the current rate applied by the ATO to tax debts. You can read more about interest charge rates on the ATO website.
We won’t charge you interest if you:
- are currently getting a Centrelink payment
- have entered into an acceptable payment arrangement, and
- continue to honour that payment arrangement
Departure Prohibition Orders
We may issue a Departure Prohibition Order if you aren't repaying your debt. It will stop you from leaving Australia until you pay your debt in full or enter an acceptable payment arrangement.
We don’t need a court order to stop you from leaving Australia.
External collection agencies
Milton Graham, the Probe Group and the Australian Receivables Limited (ARL) are the external collection agents we use to follow up outstanding Centrelink debts. A collection agent may send you an SMS, phone you or send you a letter. If you get a letter from any of our collection agents, it’s important you contact them immediately to discuss your payment options.
While your account is with one of our collection agents:
- their privacy and security protects your personal information, and
- your credit rating won’t change.
If you have a complaint about the service you get from a collection agent, you can give us feedback. Read more about complaints and feedback.
Recovering debt for other Australian and New Zealand government departments
We may deduct money from your Centrelink payment to recover money you owe to other Australian Government departments, including the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
We also recover some overpayments on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand. We’ll let you know if we’re going to recover any of these overpayments from your income support payment.
Bankruptcy and debt agreements
If you can’t make payments, consider entering into a debt agreement as a way of managing your debt and avoiding bankruptcy. A debt agreement is a legally binding agreement between you and us. If a debt agreement is unable to resolve the debt, you may still enter into bankruptcy.
Entering into bankruptcy or a debt agreement doesn't eliminate all debts, but we won't recover some debts for the duration of your bankruptcy or agreement.
You must take steps to begin the debt agreement process and tell all your creditors. Read more about how to begin the process of a debt agreement on the Australian Financial Security Authority website.
An administrator will contact us with details of your case. We'll review your outstanding debts, take the appropriate action and advise you in writing of the outcome.
Review and appeal
If you don't agree with a decision we've made about the money you owe, you have the right to ask for a review and appeal of the decision.
Regular deductions using Centrepay
You can use our free and voluntary service to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.
You can start, change or stop using it whenever you like.
You can use it for your regular bills and other ongoing expenses – such as rent, electricity and phone.
Read more about how Centrepay works.
If you are an employer, read more about the Paid Parental Leave scheme for employers and how it might affect your business.