Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

No April Fool: Paid Parental Leave due in nine months

Today is an important date for couples thinking about having a baby.

From today, it is exactly nine months until Australia’s first paid parental leave scheme is scheduled to start.

Couples that circle today’s date on their calendars are no April Fools.

The Rudd Government’s paid parental leave scheme starts on 1 January next year – exactly nine months away.

Couples who conceive from today may be eligible for payments under Australia’s first paid parental leave scheme – if their baby is born on or after 1 January.

Our scheme will provide eligible working parents with 18 weeks parental leave, paid at the National Minimum Wage (currently $543.78 a week before tax). This leave can be shared between both parents, to suit the needs of each Australian family.

Families have been waiting for decades for a paid parental leave scheme.

The Rudd Government is delivering a scheme that is fair to families and fair to business.

For the first time many Australian families, particularly low income earners, seasonal, casual, contractors and the self-employed will have access to Paid Parental Leave.

Our scheme will give more parents support to spend more time at home with a new baby and help employers retain valuable skills and experience.

To be eligible for PPL, a mother (or other primary carer including an adoptive parent) will need to:

  • have been engaged in work continuously for at least 10 of the 13 months prior to the expected birth or adoption of the child
  • have undertaken at least 330 hours of paid work in the 10 month period (an average of around one day of paid work a week)
  • have an adjusted taxable income of $150,000 a year or less in the previous financial year.

The Government’s scheme is based on the expert recommendations of the Productivity Commission.

For 12 years the former government refused to deliver a paid parental leave scheme.