The following information supports the Paid Parental Leave scheme proposed by the Australian Government. For the scheme to come into force, Parliament must first pass legislation making it part of the law. Until the scheme becomes law, it is possible that some details of the scheme that are outlined in this information may change.
The Australian Government will deliver Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme from
1 January 2011.
The proposed scheme will provide up to 18 weeks Parental Leave pay at the National Minimum Wage for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011.
The Paid Parental Leave scheme acknowledges that having a child and taking leave from work around the time of a birth is a common part of work and family life. Even though it is government funded, Parental Leave pay will generally be provided by the employer for long term employees – just like other forms of leave are paid.
It will give working parents support to spend more time at home with a new baby during the vital early months of social, cognitive and physical development. It will also help employers to retain valuable and skilled staff.
The scheme will help employers enhance the family friendly workplace conditions many already offer. The government’s Paid Parental Leave can be taken in addition to existing employer-funded schemes, at either the same time or consecutively.
Paid Parental Leave:
• is funded by the Australian Government
• is, in most cases, for mothers who have been working before the birth of their child
• can be transferred to the other parent if they are eligible, but must be claimed initially by the mother
• is paid at the National Minimum Wage – currently $543.78 a week before tax
• lasts for up to 18 weeks
• can be taken in a continuous period, any time in the first year after birth
• is also available to adoptive parents
• can be received before, after, or at the same time as employer-provided paid leave such as recreation or annual leave and employer-provided maternity leave.
Families who are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave, or who choose not to take it, can still access the Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefit (Part A and B) under the usual rules.
Important dates for the implementation of the Paid Parental Leave scheme are:
June 2010: Proposed Paid Parental Leave scheme to be confirmed following
1 October 2010: The first claims can be lodged by parents.
1 January 2011: Payments will start for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after
1 July 2011: Employers will be responsible for providing Parental Leave pay to their long term employees (i.e. those with 12 months service with their employer).
Why is this information important now?
Decisions that people make now about work could affect their eligibility for Paid Parental Leave under the scheme’s work test.
Employers should be aware that when legislation for the scheme is passed into law, Paid Parental Leave will become a legal entitlement for eligible parents from 1 January 2011.
However, in planning leave arrangements, both parents and employers should take into account that the government’s proposed Paid Parental Leave scheme is yet to be passed by Parliament and may still change.
Who is eligible?
Mothers of babies born on or after 1 January 2011 may be eligible for Paid Parental Leave. The initial primary carer of a child who is adopted on or after this date may also be eligible.
Parents may be eligible if they:
• are the mother of a newborn child
• are the initial primary carer of a recently adopted child
• have met the Paid Parental Leave work test before the birth or adoption occurs
• have an individual income of $150,000 a year or less, and
• are living in Australia and are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
What is the work test?
The Paid Parental Leave work test will be met if a parent:
• worked continuously for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the birth or adoption of their child, and
• worked at least 330 hours in that 10 month period (just over one day per week).
Paid Parental Leave will be for eligible working parents, including full-time, part-time, seasonal and casual workers, contractors, the self employed, and people who have had multiple employers.
Additional sources of information
Australian Government website with the latest information on Paid Parental Leave: www.australia.gov.au.
Parents and prospective parents can also call the Family Assistance Office on 13 61 50.
An Australian Government brochure “Planning to have a baby? Introducing Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme” summarising the scheme is available to download at www.australia.gov.au.
For a copy of “Paid Parental Leave: Information for Parents” and “Paid Parental Leave: Information for Employers and Consultation Outcomes”, please contact Horizon Communication on (02) 8572 5600.
For more information on other current financial support and leave entitlements for new parents, visit:
• Baby Bonus: www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/baby-bonus.html
• Family Tax Benefit Part A & Part B: www.familyassist.gov.au/payments/family-assistance-payments/family-tax-benefit-part-a.html
• National Employment Standards (NES) as part of Fair Work Act: www.fairwork.gov.au