Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Helping dads take time off to spend with their babies

Legislation passed by the parliament today will give dads extra support to take time off work to bond with their new baby from 1 January next year.

The Paid Parental Leave and Other Legislation Amendment (Dad and Partner Pay and Other Measures) Bill 2012 expands the Australian Government’s successful Paid Parental Leave scheme, with Dad and Partner Pay-a dedicated payment to give dads and partners financial support to stay at home for two weeks with their new baby.

We understand that having a baby is a big moment in a family’s life, and we want both mum and dad to have support to take time off to bond with their new baby.

We also know that having a baby puts financial strain on a family’s budget. That’s why we are making sure that mums and dads have access to financial support in those first important months of their baby’s life.

With more assistance to take time off work when a new baby joins the family, dads will be able to support mums and be involved in the care of their baby right from the start.

This is good for dads, it’s good for mums, and it helps give babies the best start in life.

Dad and Partner Pay will be available to eligible fathers and partners, including adopting parents and parents in same-sex couples. Eligible dads will have access to two weeks’ government-funded Dad and Partner Pay at the rate of the national minimum wage ($606 a week before tax).

This new financial support will be especially important for dads and partners who work in casual jobs without annual leave entitlements, and self-employed people such as tradespeople, small business owners and farmers.

It will be available to full-time, part-time, casual, seasonal, contract and self-employed workers who have worked at least 330 hours (just over one day a week) in 10 of the 13 months before the birth of their baby and who earnt $150,000 or less in the previous financial year.

To receive Dad and Partner Pay a person must be on unpaid leave or not working for that period.

A family will be able to receive Dad and Partner Pay either on its own or in addition to Paid Parental Leave or other family payments such as the Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefit.

Since the Government’s historic Paid Parental Leave scheme began on 1 January 2011, more than 160,000 new mums have applied for up to 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave.

This Labor Government understands the pressures on working families and we’re doing our bit to help these families make ends meet.