Explaining Parental Leave Laws in Australia

In Australia, any resident having a baby (or adopting one under the age of 16) may be entitled to Parental Leave Pay, which is an initiative of the Australian government. In addition to that, their employer may also grant an expectant parent paid parental leave.

Parental Leave Pay:

According to the Parental Leave Pay program, parents are entitled to take up to 18 weeks of leave. During this time period, they will be paid the national minimum wage (which currently stands at $772.60 per week for a 38-hour week, taxes excluded).

In order to be eligible for the government’s Parental Leave Pay program, you need to fulfill at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be the mother of a newborn child
  • Be the adoptive parent of a child
  • Be the caretaker of a child under extraordinary circumstances

Other than that, you will have to tick the following boxes:

  • You must be the child’s primary caregiver
  • You must earn a maximum taxable annual income of $150,000
  • You will stay on leave and not work during the time you receive the payment
  • You have worked, on average, a minimum of 1+ weekly days for 10 out of the last 13 months
  • You are an Australian resident by law.

If you meet the above requirements, the Australian government will generally make the leave payment to the employer, who will then transfer it to you. However, you have the option of receiving the payment directly from the government as well. You can obtain these payments after, before, or at the same time as your other leave entitlements (long service and annual leave, for example).

Self-employed residents are also entitled to Parental Leave Pay as long as they can clear the work test.

Employer-Funded Parental Leave:

Depending upon the workplace policy, as well as your particular contract, agreement, or award, you might be able to get a paid parental leave funded directly by your employer.

You can obtain both the Australian government’s Paid Parental leave as well as the paid parental leave funded by your employer as long as you meet all the requirements.

Unpaid Parental Leave:

Other than the paid parental leaves, Australian residents are also legally entitled to a maximum of 12 months of unpaid parental leave. Other than that, it is also possible to request an extra 12 months of parental leave.

You can take unpaid parental leave under the following circumstances:

  • Upon giving birth
  • When your spouse or de facto gives birth
  • You adopt a child that is less than 16 years of age

If you have worked for your current employer for at least 12 months prior to the baby’s birth date (or the date of the adoption) – and are the child’s primary caregiver – you are entitled to unpaid parental leave.

Final Word:

To sum up, the Australian government has put in comprehensive parental leave laws in place to protect its employees. To learn more about parental leave provisions in different parts of the world, please feel free to check out some of the other blogs on our website. (See also: Labor Law for Immigrants in Australia)


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