Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Get ready now for Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave Scheme

Parents and employers should get ready to benefit from the introduction of Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme on 1 January next year.

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today called on Australian businesses to register with Centrelink to provide Government-funded parental leave to their employees.

Already 158 employers have registered with Centrelink, including Holden and Bank of Queensland.

The Government has also made it easier for expectant parents to plan for their baby’s arrival by opening applications for Paid Parental Leave three months before their baby’s due date.

Applications opened on 1 October and in the first week 129 families applied, including 23 on the opening day of applications.

The Government today also launched an information campaign to make sure that families and employers are ready for the 1 January start date.

The information campaign will reach expectant parents in doctors’ surgeries, at work, in their living rooms, online and in Centrelink and Medicare offices around the country.

The Australian Government’s scheme will provide eligible working parents of babies born or adopted from 1 January next year with parental leave pay for up to 18 weeks at the minimum wage (currently $570 a week before tax).

The Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme will help employers retain skilled staff and boost workforce participation.

To help women remain connected to their workplace when they take time off to have a baby, the Gillard Government’s scheme ensures employers provide Government-funded parental leave payments to their long-term employees.

Parental Leave Pay should be delivered as a workplace entitlement, just like sick leave or any other form of leave.

Parents can find out more by visiting Family Assist website or calling 13 61 50.

Employers can find out more, including how to register to provide the Government-funded parental leave from 1 January next year by contacting the Centrelink Business Hotline on 13 11 58 or visiting Centrelink website.

Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave Scheme will give families more options than ever before to balance work and family, and will help boost the economy by encouraging workforce participation.