Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Helping dads and partners take time off to care for newborns

Legislation introduced into the parliament today will give eligible dads and partners financial 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 builds on the Australian Government’s successful Paid Parental Leave scheme, by introducing Dad and Partner Pay – a dedicated two-week payment to gives dads and partners the opportunity to stay at home for two weeks with their new baby.

Eligible working dads and other partners, such as same-sex couples, will have access to two weeks government-funded Dad and Partner Pay at the National Minimum Wage (currently about $590 a week before tax).

This new payment will give families more options to balance work and family commitments.

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.

To be eligible for Dad and Partner Pay, a person must have an annual income of $150,000 or less. The new entitlement 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 prior to the start of Dad and Partner Pay.

This payment 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.

Dad and Partner Pay will cost $188.5 million over five years.

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.

Dad and Partner Pay will also help ensure that fathers and partners taking time away from work to care for a child is seen as a normal part of work and family life.

Since the Government’s historic Paid Parental Leave scheme began on 1 January 2011, more than 150,000 new mums have applied.