Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Twelve months since Paid Parental Leave legislation passed

Today marks one year since legislation for Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme passed in the Parliament.

It was an historic day for Australian families. It was the day Australia caught up with the rest of the developed world.

The Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme started on 1 January this year. Since then almost 65,000 people have claimed the payment. More than 30,700 parents are currently receiving parental leave pay, another 22,000 are waiting for the birth of their child or for their start date to come around, and more than 6,400 have finished receiving the payment.

For many low income, casual and part-time workers, contractors and the self-employed the Government’s scheme is providing financial security and a connection to the workforce that they’ve never had before.

Half of all mothers who have claimed Government-funded Paid Parental Leave had incomes of less than $42,000 in the year before their baby was born or adopted.

The Government’s scheme provides up to 18 week’s Government-funded parental leave pay at the National Minimum Wage (about $590 per week from 1 July, currently $570 a week) to eligible parents to help them stay at home and care for their baby full-time during the vital early months. It also helps businesses retain valuable and skilled workers.

Paid Parental Leave is also good for Australian businesses – helping them retain skilled and valuable staff.

From 1 July this year the role of employers in providing Government-funded parental leave pay to their eligible employees begins.

So far more than 8,100 employers have registered and this number is growing steadily in the lead up to 1 July.

The Government’s scheme should be provided in addition to existing employer-funded paid parental leave schemes. This will help employers enhance the family-friendly workplace conditions many already offer.

Parents can find out more by visiting the Family Assistance Office at or calling 13 6150.

Employers can register by visiting or calling 13 1158.