Paid Parental Leave Scheme

After many years of hard work and intense lobbying, the women of Australia gained a federal government funded Paid Parental Leave Scheme (PPLS) that started in 2011. This now means that the majority of women in Australia receive at the very least, 18 weeks of paid parental leave when they have a baby or adopt a child.

The scheme currently remains unchanged from the one introduced by Labor in 2011.  

Currently, the scheme provides 18 weeks of paid leave to mothers or primary carers of a child born or adopted after the 1st of January 2011, at the basic minimum wage of $695 per week before tax. For some women in Australia this is their only entitlement to any form of paid parental leave. DECD and TAFESA employees are entitled to receive these 18 weeks of payments in addition to the 16 or 20 weeks of paid maternity leave already achieved for eligible employees through enterprise bargaining. The scheme allows for the PPL to be taken before, after or concurrently with any other entitlements for paid maternity leave.

The scheme is available to full-time, part-time, casual or contract workers and the self-employed who qualify under the schemes eligibility requirements. (See below)

The PPL payments are administered by the employer for eligible employees. An income test of $150,000 applies based on the primary carer's adjusted taxable income in the previous financial year.

At present, to be eligible for the government scheme the primary carer must be in paid work and have:

• Been engaged in work continuously for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the expected birth or adoption of a child and undertaken at least 330 hours paid work in that 10 month period (this equates to an average of around one day of paid work a week).
• Have no more than the "permissible break" in service of eight weeks. Due to the Christmas holiday break and the likelihood of not gaining employment in the early weeks of Term 1, contract workers in education may be disadvantaged by the current "permissible break” limit.

What does the PPL currently not include?

• Superannuation contributions on the parental leave payment
• Paid secondary carers (or paternity) leave
• Full wage replacement
• The right to return to work part-time from parental leave.

Who is responsible for applying for the PPL?

The employee is entirely responsible for lodging an application for PPL with the Family Assistance Office (FAO). DECD and TAFESA are not required to do anything until they receive notification from the FAO regarding an employee's application. DECD and TAFESA will be required to provide any relevant information to the FAO.