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Parental Leave Entitlements in Australia

Updated: Jan 20

An employee is entitled to parental leave when a child is born or adopted. During this leave period, he/she is also entitled to other benefits in Australia’s Parental Leave system, such as the right to return to their old job.



Parental leave can be taken after an employee or an employee’s spouse/de facto partner gives birth, or an employee adopts a child under 16 years. Employees can take up to 12 months’ unpaid parental leave, but may request for an addition 12 months if required.


Who is Eligible for Parental Leave?

Generally, if you are an employee in Australia, you are entitled to parental leave. You must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months before the birth or adoption of your child, and you must have responsibility to care for the child. If you have another child while working for the same employer, you are not required to work for another 12 months before taking another parental leave.


Parental Leave Pay (PLP)

Eligible employees are entitled to Parental Leave Pay (PLP) from the Australian Government and paid parental leave from their employer. Employees who have access to PLP and paid parental leave are still entitled to 12 + 12 months’ unpaid parental leave. PLP is payment of up to 18 weeks and to be eligible, you must:

  • Be the primary carer of your child;

  • Earn less than $150,000 in the previous financial year;

  • Not work during the PLP period;

  • Meet the “work test” (i.e. you must have worked for 10 of the 13 months before the birth/adoption of your child, and for a minimum of 330 hours in those 10 months);

  • Have registered or applied to register your child’s birth with the relevant state or territory birth registry, if he/she is a newborn.

PLP is currently calculated at $150.78 per day before tax as per Services Australia.


Dad and Partner Pay

If you are a spouse or partner, you may be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay of up to two weeks, which is equivalent to 10 payable days. The eligibility criteria for Dad and Partner Pay is similar to those of the PLP; in addition, you must also be:

  • The child’s biological father or in some circumstances, partner of the biological father;

  • Partner of the birth mother;

  • Adoptive parent or partner of the adoptive parent;

  • Carer of the child born of a surrogacy;

  • Partner of a new carer outside a foster care or permanent care arrangement.

If you are eligible for both PLP and Dad and Partner Pay for the same child, the total you can claim from both schemes cannot exceed 18 weeks’ payment. You cannot receive JobKeeper Payment during the same time you are receiving Dad and Partner Pay.

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