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Paid parental leave

4-minute read

In Australia, when you have a baby or adopt a child under 16, you may be entitled to Parental Leave Pay from the Government and you may also get paid parental leave from your employer. You are also entitled to unpaid leave.

You may be entitled to different sorts of leave, depending on your situation. Read more here about what to consider before you apply.

Parental Leave Pay

Parental Leave Pay gives you up to 18 weeks of leave paid at the national minimum wage (currently $740.60 per week before tax).

You are entitled to Parental Leave Pay from the Australian Government if you are:

  • the birth mother of a newborn child
  • the adoptive parent of a child
  • another person caring for a child under exceptional circumstances

You will also need to meet some other conditions.

  • You must be the primary carer of the child.
  • You earn under a certain limit (an adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less).
  • You are on leave or not working while you receive the payment.
  • You have worked a certain amount of time in the past 13 months (just over 1 day a week for 10 of the previous 13 months) — this is determined using a work test.
  • You meet Australian residency requirements.

The Government usually makes the payments to the employer first, who then pays the employee. However, you can elect to receive the payment directly from the Government. You can get the payments either before, after or at the same time as other leave entitlements like annual leave and long service leave.

You are also entitled to Parental Leave Pay if you are self-employed, as long as you meet the work test.

Visit the Services Australia website to see more about eligibility requirements for Parental Leave Pay.

Employer-funded paid parental leave

Depending on your award, agreement, contract or workplace policy, you may also be entitled to paid parental leave from your employer. You can be paid both Parental Leave Pay from the Government and paid parental leave from your employer.

The amount you are paid by your employer will depend on your arrangements with them.

Dad and Partner Pay

Working fathers and partners (including same-sex partners) may be eligible for 2 weeks of leave paid at the minimum wage. This leave is paid by the Australian Government directly to the employee. It is paid in one block. Some employers top up Dad and Partner Pay so it is equivalent to your normal wage.

You are eligible for Dad and Partner pay if you are:

  • the biological father of the child
  • the partner of the birth mother
  • an adoptive parent
  • the partner of an adoptive parent
  • the person caring for a child born of a surrogacy arrangement

You must also:

  • be caring for the child every day during the time you get Dad and Partner Pay
  • have worked a certain number of hours in the past 13 months
  • meet residency requirements
  • be on leave or not working while you receive the payment
  • have received an adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less in the financial year either before the date of your claim or the date your Dad and Partner Pay period starts, whichever is earlier

Visit the Services Australia website to see more about eligibility requirements for Dad and Partner Pay.

Unpaid leave

By law, you are entitled to up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. You can also request an additional 12 months of leave.

Unpaid parental leave can be taken when:

  • an employee gives birth
  • an employee’s spouse or de facto gives birth
  • an employee adopts a child under 16

You are eligible for unpaid parental leave if you have worked for your employer for at least 12 months before the baby is born (or before the date of the adoption) and are responsible for the care of the child.

Casual employees are also entitled to unpaid parental leave as long as they have been working for the employer on a regular basis for at least 12 months and have a reasonable expectation of this regular work continuing.

If you are taking unpaid parental leave to care for an adopted child, you may also be entitled to an additional 2 days’ unpaid leave to attend interviews. This is called pre-adoption leave. You cannot take this leave if your employer tells you to take a different type of leave instead, such as annual leave.

If you are having another child, you don’t have to work for another 12 months before you can take unpaid parental leave with the same employer. But you will have to work for 12 months if you start work with a new employer.

For more information

For support, call Pregnancy Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2019


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Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

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