Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Australian families benefit from Paid Parental Leave: three months in

Three months since the introduction of Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme, around 42,000 new and expecting parents have applied for the Government-funded payment.

On 1 January this year, the Australian Government delivered this historic reform for Australian families who had been waiting decades for a national Paid Parental Leave scheme.

Around 17,000 parents are already receiving Paid Parental Leave and more than 4,300 employers have registered to play their part in the scheme.

Low-income women are big winners – the average income of applicants is $46,400. These are the women who were most likely to have no access to paid parental leave before the Government-funded scheme. ABS data showed that in 2008, only 17 per cent of women on very low wages had access to paid parental leave, compared to 70 per cent of women on high wages.

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 $570 a week before tax).

Paid Parental Leave gives babies the best start in life. It gives more parents the financial security to spend time at home with their new baby in the critical early months.

Parental Leave Pay can be transferred between parents to give families more options to balance work and family.
For many women, particularly the self-employed and those in part-time, casual, seasonal or contract work, this is the first time they have had access to Paid Parental Leave.

The scheme also helps women stay connected to the workforce, and helps employers attract and retain valuable and skilled staff.

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

Parents can find out more by visiting the Family Assistance Office at or calling 13 61 50.

Employers can find out more by visiting or by contacting the Centrelink Business Hotline on 13 11 58.

Number of people who have claimed Paid Parental Leave by State/Territory

Financial Year to Date 945 13,740 369 8,637 2,922 864 10,273 4,301 42,060

NB: Columns do not add to total due to some applicants not providing full details at this stage.