Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

100,000 families apply for Paid Parental Leave

The Australian Government’s historic Paid Parental Leave scheme has reached a major milestone with 100,000 parents applying for the payment since applications opened on 1 October last year.

More than 72,000 parents have either finished their payment or are receiving it right now, giving them financial support to take time off in the early months of their baby’s lives.

The Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme provides eligible working parents with Parental Leave Pay for up to 18 weeks at the national minimum wage (currently about $590 a week before tax).

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said Australian families had embraced Paid Parental Leave.

Half the mothers who have so far received Paid Parental Leave earned less than $42,000 in the year before their baby was born or adopted.

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

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

Paid Parental Leave gives parents financial support to stay at home and care for their baby full-time during the vital early months of social, cognitive and physical development.

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.

The first claims for Dad and Partner Pay will be able to be lodged from 1 October 2012.

For more information visit the Family Assistance Office website or phone 13 61 50.