Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Dad and Partner Pay

Program: ABC Mornings Victoria

E & OE – Proof only

ANN JONES: Good Morning.

JENNY MACKLIN: Good morning Ann.

ANN JONES: It’s pretty exciting news, because previously not all dads could get leave.

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s true. Dads are able discuss with their employers getting unpaid leave. But of course we know there are lots of dads and partners who want to take time off work but haven’t got the money to do so. So from the 1st of January there will be Dad and Partner Pay and it will be available for two weeks, and paid at the rate of the National Minimum Wage, which is around $606 a week before tax.

ANN JONES: So it’s just two weeks. In some ways it seems like a long time but in other ways, with a new baby, it probably isn’t.

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s true. I’m sure everybody would like it to be longer, but we think it’s a good place to start. We haven’t had this sort of leave for dads before, so I think it will be a really welcome first step.

ANN JONES: How much is this particular part of the Paid Parental Leave scheme expected to cost the Federal Government?

JENNY MACKLIN: In a full year, around $65 million dollars. So we think that’s going to be money well spent, because I think all the evidence shows, and any parents who are listening will certainly say, how important it is that mums and dads are able to spend time with their newborn babies.

ANN JONES: You think that there’ll be social benefits?

JENNY MACKLIN: I do. I think those critical early weeks are just so important to that bonding process that we all are very familiar with, and I also think it’s going to be an important time for dads to support mum as she recovers from the birth. So I think it’ll be very helpful.

ANN JONES: Is there any threshold or anything like that that would make a partner of a father ineligible for the paid parental leave?

JENNY MACKLIN: Yes, there are a couple of rules, similar to the paid parental leave that largely goes to mums. So there’s an income test, dads can’t earn more than $150,000 in the previous year, so that’s the income test, and they have to have been working. Pretty generous work test, so it certainly applies to people who have worked casually, so you need to have worked around a day a week for 10 of the 13 months before the start of their Dad and Partner Pay.

ANN JONES: What does the Government, what does your department believe the take-up of this will be, at least in the initial period?

JENNY MACKLIN: We expect around 230,000 dads will get the benefit of Dad and Partner Pay once it’s fully up and running. That’s each year.

ANN JONES: I’m pretty sure that there are going to be many listeners that actually forgot that this was a part of the paid parental package that’s coming out, so it’s going to be an interesting time. It starts on…

JENNY MACKLIN: …1 January. And one of the things, you said in your opening remarks there may be some expectant parents listening, if you’ve got a baby arriving in early January, or sometime in January, you can actually apply for both Paid Parental Leave for mum and Dad and Partner Pay now. You can actually apply three months in advance of the expected birth date. And one of the things that a lot of mums have really liked is getting all that paperwork out of the way before the baby comes along.

ANN JONES: Yeah because it gets really busy, especially in those final weeks and of course in the first weeks as well.

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s right.

ANN JONES: So you can apply now. Is it only for children born from the 1st of January?

JENNY MACKLIN: Yes it is. So you’ve always got to have a start date, and that’s the start date.

ANN JONES: Jenny Macklin, thank you for coming on and explaining it a little bit to us. And I’m sure that is going to be music to the ears of many dads and partners out there.

JENNY MACKLIN: Great. Thank you.