Media Release by Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Paid Parental Leave Scheme amendment to support parents in lockdown

The Morrison Government is ensuring expectant parents in lockdown areas can access Paid Parental Leave when their newborn arrives through a temporary change to the Scheme.

A Bill being introduced to Parliament today will allow parents to count the period they have received the COVID-19 Disaster Payment towards the work test for Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the change would help parents who have had their hours of work reduced or who have been stood down during the recent outbreaks retain their eligibility for the payments under the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

“It is important that lockdowns do not affect financial support offered through the Paid Parental Leave Scheme which families rely on following the arrival of a newborn,” Minister Ruston said.

“This will come as welcome relief for families living in extended lockdown conditions in NSW who are awaiting the arrival of a newborn. The change will also support families who have received the COVID-19 Disaster Payment in other states to meet the work test and will apply to anyone who receives the payment in the future.”

Primary carers of a newborn can receive Parental Leave Pay for up to 18 weeks which can be transferred to the other parent at any time should they take over primary caring responsibilities. Flexibility measures introduced last year also allow the final six weeks to be shared or taken by either parent at any time until their child turns 2. In addition, Dad and Partner Pay is available for two weeks. Both payments are paid at the national minimum wage of $772.55 per week.

Families may also be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A up to $191.24 per child a fortnight for children up to 12 and Part B up to $162.54 per family a fortnight for children under 5.