Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

First birthday for Paid Parental Leave

Today marks one year since the Australian Government’s historic Paid Parental Leave scheme began and already more than 126,000 expectant and new parents have applied for the payment.

Paid Parental Leave provides up to 18 weeks government-funded parental leave pay at the rate of the national minimum wage (currently about $590 a week before tax).

It gives new parents the financial support to take time off to care for their new baby during the important early months of the baby’s life.

Of the parents who have applied for Paid Parental Leave, more than 65,000 have already finished receiving their parental leave pay, and another 56,000 are receiving the payment now, or are awaiting the birth or their payment start date.

Half of the mothers who have received payments earned less than $43,000 in the year before their baby was born or adopted.

This shows Paid Parental Leave is particularly important for women on low incomes, many of whom do not have access to paid parental leave through their employer.

The Productivity Commission found that women on low incomes, particularly those in casual jobs such as retail and hospitality, have the lowest levels of access to employer-provided paid parental leave.

Employers have also embraced the scheme that helps them retain valuable, skilled and experienced staff without having to fund the pay themselves.

Over the past year, more than 22,000 employers have registered to provide Government-funded parental leave pay to their eligible employees through their usual pay cycle.

This historic reform, delivered by the Australian Government, gives parents more options to balance work and family, helps employers retain skilled staff and boosts workforce participation.

Families who don’t qualify for Paid Parental Leave still have the option of the Baby Bonus and other family payments if eligible.

The Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme will be extended on 1 January 2013 to provide extra support to new parents with two weeks Dad and Partner Pay.

Dad and Partner Pay will give fathers and other partners financial assistance to take time off work, helping them bond with their new child and be involved in their care from an early age.

For more information about the Paid Parental Leave scheme for families go to:

For more information about the scheme for employers go to:

For more information about Dad and Partner Pay go to:

Number of families currently receiving or already having received Paid Parental Leave by state
2,162 33,500 991 20,207 6,956 2,105 25,689 10,170