Updated: October 2018
While you’re taking a pregnant pause from work and enjoying those early days of baby bliss in Australia, you can access a few different parenting payments that will help keep the family budget ticking over.
From Paid Parental Leave to upfront newborn payments, here’s what you need to know about government entitlements in pregnancy and after you’ve had a baby.
Am I eligible for Parental Leave Pay?
To access the government’s Parental Leave Pay you must be:
- the birth mother of a newborn
- the adopting parent of a child
- a person caring for the child under exceptional circumstances
You also need to meet a work test, which means you need to have worked for:
- 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child
- 330 hours in that 10 month period, which is just over one day a week, with no more than an eight-week gap between two consecutive working days. There are some exceptions to this – for instance, if you have pregnancy complications or your baby is premature.
You also must have, as an individual, earned $150,000 or less in the financial year before your baby’s birth or adoption, or the date you claim – whichever is earlier.
Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement
You can’t access Parental Leave Pay and the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement for the same child. If you’re not eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you might still be able to access the Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement.
How much money can I receive from Parental Leave Pay?
Parental Leave Pay is $719.35 per week, before tax for a maximum of 18 weeks, which is the national minimum wage. It can either be paid by the government or your employer.
If you’re also eligible for Dad and Partner Pay (which is up to two weeks of government-funded pay to dads or partners caring for a newborn), the total you receive from the government for both payments can’t be more than 18 weeks pay.
How will Parental Leave Pay impact my other entitlements?
Because Parental Leave is classed as a taxable payment, it could impact other government payments you receive, including:
- child support
- HECS liabilities
- Medicare Levy Surcharge
- public housing rent
- low income or other health care cards, or other associated concessions
- pensioner and beneficiary tax offsets, and
- dependent spouse, housekeeper and child-housekeeper tax offsets
- Family Tax Benefit part A and B
- Income support payments
Registering with DHS
Keep in mind that while you can’t access maternity leave payments before your baby arrives, you can start the claim process up to three months before your due date.
When should I put in my claim?
This is completely in your hands, as you nominate a start date when you complete your claim. If you submit the claim within 28 days of your baby’s birth, you may ask for your Paid Parental Leave period to start from the birth date.
If you submit the claim more than 28 days after your baby is born, you can’t get Parental Leave Pay for a period before your claim was submitted. So, to make sure you are paid from the date you choose, you need to claim and provide the proof of birth within 28 days of your baby’s birth.
The start date won’t be the date of your first payment. Once your claim is assessed, the first payment will include any back pay you’re entitled to.
To make sure that you’re making the correct financial decisions for your family, make sure you contact the Department of Human Services, or you can find out more about Parental Leave Pay online. You also need to make sure you speak to your employer about any additional maternity leave payments you may be entitled to through your workplace.
This information is current as of October 2017. For more information head to the Department of Human Services.
If you are pregnant and still working, here is our guide on when to tell your boss you’re pregnant.