Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Applications for Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme open today

From today working parents expecting a baby in the New Year will be able to lodge their claims for Paid Parental Leave.

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.

The Gillard Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme provides eligible working parents of babies born or adopted from 1 January 2011 with parental leave pay for up to 18 weeks at the minimum wage (currently $570 a week before tax).

For many working parents, including casual and part-time workers, contractors and the self-employed, this will be the first time they will have access to paid parental leave.

To help parents get all their paperwork done before the birth of their child, claims for Family Tax Benefit and Maternity Immunisation Allowance can also be lodged early, using a combined claim form with Paid Parental Leave.

I encourage eligible expectant parents to apply today at

Application forms are also available at Family Assistance Offices located in Medicare Australia and Centrelink offices or by calling 13 6150.

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

Parents who are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave, or who choose not to participate in the scheme, will be able to continue to access the Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefit if they are eligible.

This is an historic reform that Australian families have been waiting decades for.

Our scheme gives parents more options to balance work and family, helps employers retain skilled staff and boosts workforce participation.

In addition to delivering Australia’s first Paid Parental Leave scheme, the Gillard Government has committed to introducing two weeks paid paternity leave from 1 July 2012.