The government provides up to 18 weeks’ financial support to eligible parents following the birth or recent adoption of a child through the Parental Leave Pay scheme.

This scheme was introduced to help parents spend quality time in those important early months of baby’s life.

Parental leave eligibility

To be eligible for parental leave, you must satisfy certain requirements including:

  • meeting a work test for parental leave pay
  • being the primary carer of a newborn or recently adopted child
  • not working or being on leave from the time you become your child’s primary carer until the end of the paid parental leave period.

Work test requirements

To meet the work test for parental leave pay, you must have:

  • worked for 10 of the 13 months before the birth or adoption of your child, and
  • worked one day a week in a 10 month period which is approximately 330 hours, with no more than an eight week gap between two consecutive working days.

There are some exceptions to the work test if certain circumstances have prevented you from meeting the requirements. These include things like pregnancy complications or premature birth. You may also be eligible for parental leave pay and meet the work test requirements if you:

  • are casual, part time, or a seasonal worker
  • are self-employed or a contractor
  • work in a family business
  • have multiple employers
  • have recently changed jobs
  • are no longer employed
  • have worked overseas.

Residence requirements

To be eligible for Parental Leave Pay, you must satisfy residence requirements. When your child is born or adopted, you must be living in Australia and:

  • have Australian citizenship
  • hold a permanent visa
  • hold a special category visa, or
  • hold a temporary visa. 

How much is the Parental Leave Pay?

Parental Leave Pay is currently $672.60 a week before tax for a maximum of 18 weeks^1. This is the weekly rate of the national minimum wage in Australia.


Your Parental Leave Pay will be paid to you by your employer or Centrelink, depending on your circumstances.

  • If your employer pays you, they usually receive the funding from the government and then pay it into your usual pay cycle. It’s important to organise your leave from work with your employer. You should try to do this at least 10 weeks before you intend to take leave.
  • If you choose to have the government pay you instead of your employer, it will usually be paid in fortnightly instalments.

Are you entitled to further leave from your employer?

You may be eligible for the government’s paid parental leave as well as paid or unpaid leave from your existing employer. Employers offer different maternity or parental leave arrangements and these should be stipulated in your work contract. It’s a good idea to check in with your employer as soon as you can.

For more detailed information on the government’s maternity leave policy, visit the Department of Human Services website or Supporting Working Parents website.

  1. Source: Australian Government Department of Human Services