Since the Australian government’s introduction of Paid Parental Leave in 2011, parents are eligible to receive up to 18 weeks’ wages at the National Minimum Wage (as of April 2019, this adds up to $719.35 a week before tax reductions). When and how you apply for parental leave, however, can impact how much you can receive and how soon you can receive it.
When to start the parental leave application process
Parental Leave Pay should be applied for within 34 weeks of either the birth or adoption of their child. It’s strongly recommended that parents apply for Parental Leave Pay prior to the birth of their child to ensure that they receive payments in a timely manner.
As for notifying your employer, each workplace may have different rules surrounding when employees should tell their employers that they are going on leave. Generally, a minimum of ten weeks written notice before starting parental leave is acceptable, though as soon as possible is best.
Within four weeks of going on leave prior to the birth of a child, employees should confirm their start and end parental leave dates with their employer. If you are adopting a child, you should provide your employer with as much notice as possible.
Throughout the process, your employer does have the right to ask for “evidence” to back up your leave request. Typically a medical certificate or a statutory declaration noting the expected birth date of your baby or a notice with the date an adopted child will be placed will suffice.
What about dad and partner pay?
Dads and partners may be eligible for paid leave (also at the National Minimum Wage) if they meet a series of requirements, including:
- If he or she meets the income test
- If he or she will be providing care for the new baby or the recently adopted child
- If he or she won’t be paid or working while receiving the benefit
- If he or she has worked at least 10 out of the 13 months prior to starting the pay period, and 330 hours during those months with no greater than an eight-week gap between two consecutive working days
Prior to applying for this benefit, dads and partners should check in with their employer to see what they are entitled to.
Getting the application process started
Before starting the application process, make sure you have everything you need to make it go as smoothly as possible. Here is just a short list of what you’ll need as of April 2019:
- Employer’s Australian Business Number (ABN) and contact details
- Your bank account details and Tax File Number (TFN)
- Australian residency information (passport, citizenship papers, etc.)
- Information about when you have lived outside of the country
- Income details for the financial year either before child’s date of birth/adoption, or before the date of your claim
- Details of your work history over the past 13 months (hours worked, unpaid leave, etc.)
Most parents prefer to start their claim online through the myGov website (you may need to create an account through Centrelink before making a claim to get your Customer Reference Number [CRN]). Alternatively, mums and dads can call the Families line, visit a service centre, or print out the Claim for Paid Parental Leave and Family Assistance Form found on the Human Services page of the Australian Government website.
Once you submit your claim, it’s easy to follow its status by signing into myGov and heading to Centrelink (or you can download the Express Plus Centrelink app for your mobile device). Your letter will show as “Assessed” or “Rejected” prior to receiving payment. When proof of your child’s birth or adoption is received, the “Assessed” status can then be updated to “Approved” and payments to your bank account should start shortly thereafter.