The trend toward both parents working in a family is growing. And at a time when building a career and raising children simultaneously is the norm, paid parental leave is a highly sought-after benefit for workers all over the world.

But how does Australia shape up against other countries when it comes to parental leave?

Government-paid parental leave entitlements in Australia

Eligible employees in Australia can get Parental Leave Pay (PLP) from the Australian Government. PLP is equivalent to the national minimum wage and can be paid for up to 18 weeks.

To access PLP from the government, you need to be the primary carer of your newborn or adopted child, and one of the following:

  • The birth mother of a newborn child
  • The initial primary carer of an adopted child placed in your care by an authorised party for the purpose of adoption
  • Another person caring for a child under exceptional circumstances

You also need to have a taxable income of $151,350 or less in the 2020-21 financial year.

Find out more about paid parental leave in Australia here.

How do I get the government parental leave payment?

In most cases, PLP is paid to your employer, who then pays it to you in the same way as you receive your normal pay.

However, there are some exceptions to this. For example, if you’re a contractor operating as a sole trader rather than an employee, you would receive PLP directly from Centrelink rather than the company you’re contracting with. You can find out more about parental leave pay for self-employed people here.

Employer-paid parental leave entitlements in Australia

The rules for paid parental leave from employers vary. Companies in Australia aren’t required to offer paid parental leave in addition to the government payment.

This means, depending on your employer’s parental leave policy, you may or may not be able to receive extra parental leave pay on top of the 18 weeks’ minimum wage payment provided by the government.

Additionally, many parental leave policies stipulate that you need to have been employed with the company for 12 months or more to be eligible for company-paid parental leave.

Unpaid parental leave in Australia

All employees in Australia are eligible for unpaid parental leave if they have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months.

This includes casual employees if they:

  • Have been employed by the employer on a regular and systematic basis for a sequence of periods over at least 12 months
  • Would have been expected to continue working for their employer on a regular and systematic basis

Employees can take up to 30 days of their unpaid parental leave flexibly at any time within 24 months of a child’s birth or adoption.

Flexible unpaid parental leave can be taken as:

  • A single continuous period of one day or longer
  • Separate periods of one day or longer each

Dad and Partner Pay in Australia

Eligible working dads and partners (including same-sex partners) who aren’t the primary carer of a child get can get two weeks’ leave paid at the national minimum wage. These payments are made directly to the employee by the Australian Government.

Find out more about Dad and Partner Pay here.

If you’re considering having children or requiring a more flexible work arrangement, choosing an employer with a generous parental leave policy can have a big impact.

Michael Page partners with some of the top employers in Australia. Get in touch with our recruitment consultants to discuss opportunities in your field.

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