Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

30,000 Queensland families eligible for Paid Parental Leave from New Year

More than 700 Queensland families have applied for Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme, with a month to go until the scheme begins on 1 January 2011.

The Government expects more than 30,000 Queensland families will be eligible for the Government-funded Paid Parental Leave scheme each year.

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, met families in Brisbane today to encourage expecting parents to lodge their claims early before their babies are born in the New Year.

We know how busy it can be for new parents when a baby arrives. To make things easier, parents can lodge their claims up to three months before their baby’s due date.

I encourage expecting parents to apply today at Family Assistance Office website.

Under the Australian Government’s scheme eligible parents will receive up to 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage, which is currently $570 per week before tax.

Before lodging their claim, parents should plan their caring and leave arrangements and discuss these with their employer.

Australian families have been waiting decades for Paid Parental Leave.

The Government’s scheme helps women stay connected to the workforce, boosts workforce participation and gives families more choices to balance work and family.

It also gives parents the financial security to spend time at home with their new baby in those important early months.

For many part-time, casual, contract and self-employed workers this will be the first time they will have access to Paid Parental Leave.

The Government expects 148,000 Australian families will be eligible each year. So far about 3,450 families nation wide have applied.