If you’re having a baby this year, there are new Paid Parental Leave changes you need to know.

New changes have just come into play as the new financial year ticked over on July 1, 2020, and are aimed at giving new mums more choice about how and when to take Parental Leave Pay.

Here’s what you need to know.

Paid Parental Leave changes in 2020

What to do if you go into labour when you are shopping

Before July 1, 2020 you were able to get Parental Leave Pay for a continuous block of up to 18 weeks. This is 90 payable days. Now you’re able to take this leave in a more flexible way to help work around your family.

If your child’s birth or adoption is on or after 1 July 2020, you may still get up to 90 days. However, your payment will include both:

  • a continuous Paid Parental Leave period of up to 12 weeks which is 60 payable days
  • 30 Flexible Paid Parental Leave days.

If you want, you’re still able to get your Parental Leave Pay in a single continuous 18 week block. Services Australia will connect your 12 week Paid Parental Leave period to your 30 Flexible Paid Parental Leave days to make that happen.

Or, you can choose a shorter block between 12 and 18 weeks. Then you can take your remaining Flexible Paid Parental Leave days later on, when it suits you. But you have to take your Flexible Paid Parental Leave days before bub turns two.

Alternatively, you can choose a shorter block of between 12 and 18 weeks. You can then take your remaining Flexible Paid Parental Leave days at a later time, when it suits you. You must take the Flexible Paid Parental Leave days before your child turns 2.

What you need to do

Services Australia says the best time to claim is still before your baby’s birth or adoption. From 14 September, 2020 they’ll use your child’s date of birth to work out if the changes affect you and they’ll send you more info if it does, and if you claim PPL before 14 September.

From 14 September, if you claim PPL, Services Australia will ask you:

  • How you want to get your Flexible Paid Parental Leave days
  • When you want to get your Flexible Paid Parental Leave days.

If you need more information, head to Services Australia.

December 19, 2019: The work test allowable gap is changing from January 1, 2020, allowing mums to have more time in between paid working days and still qualify under the work test.

From 2020, the gap allowed between two work days in the work test period will increase from eight weeks to 12 weeks. The change will only apply if your baby’s birth or adoption is on or after January 1, 2020.

You’re able to apply for Parental Leave Pay or Dad and Partner Pay up to three months before the birth or adoption of your child.

There will also be a new Dangerous Jobs provision for Parental Leave Pay. It will only relate to you if all of the following apply:

  • you’re pregnant or the birth mother of a newborn child
  • your child’s date of birth is on or after 1 January 2020
  • you stopped work because a workplace hazard was a risk to your pregnancy
  • you won’t meet the work requirements in the 13-month work test period ending the day before your child’s birth.
  • If you meet the provision, DHS will move your work test period. It will no longer be the 13 month period ending the day before your child’s birth. Instead, your 13 month work test period will end the day you stopped work. You’ll still need to meet the work test in this new period to get Parental Leave Pay.

When you claim, you’ll need to provide proof of your circumstances. For more information head to Department of Human Services.

Parental leave changes for grieving families

February 6, 2020: Parents coping with stillbirth or infant death will now be able to access 12 months of unpaid parental leave, bringing the entitlements inline with parents who give birth to healthy babies.

The federal government has also announced leave changes for parents of premature babies, or those who experience birth-related complications that result in immediate hospitalisation.

Parental leave changes for grieving parents

For parents dealing with stillbirth or infant death, the parental leave entitlement is being increased from six weeks to a maximum of 12 months.

Stillbirth Foundation Australia CEO, Leigh Brezler, said it’s the fair and right things to do.

“This decision is much-needed, hard-fought and long-awaited. It will give families of stillborn children the same leave entitlements as parents of live-born babies,” Ms Brezler said.

“Parents of stillborn babies are still parents, and six weeks is not enough time to grieve the loss of their babies. They deserve equal access to parental leave and this announcement makes that so.”

Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter, said the government recognises that the current six-week entitlement is insufficient.

“While not all parents will want to use the full 12-months, it is important that the option is available to them should they need it.”

Parental leave changes for parents of premature babies

As part of the changes, parents of premature babies or babies that experience birth-related complications that result in immediate hospitalisation will be able to go back to work and pause their parental leave until their baby is able to come home.

“Parents have told us how frustrated they felt by having to use up large amounts of their leave while their little one was in hospital, instead of being able to put it on hold until they needed it,” Mr Porter said.

“These changes will give parents that flexibility and ensure they will get to spend quality time at home with their child when they leave hospital.”

Parents will be able to use up to 30 days (6 weeks) of their 12-month unpaid leave entitlement flexibly up to their child’s second birthday. During this time, they’ll also be able to choose to claim part of their 18-week paid parental leave entitlement.

The new laws are due to be introduced in the autumn sitting of Parliament.

Changes to paid parental leave, what you need to know

November 20, 2018: New parents will be able to choose how they take their paid parental leave, under new reforms announced today.

Parents will be able to split their paid parental leave, rather than taking the full 18 weeks at once, and more mums and dads will be able to access PPL with a relaxing of the work test rules.

Here’s everything you need to know about the changes to paid parental leave.

How can you split your paid parental leave?

At the moment PPL has to be taken as a block of 18 weeks. However under the new reforms that 18 weeks can be split. Here are the rules:

  • A 12-week block has to be taken in bub’s first year.
  • The remaining six weeks can be taken in any configuration that works for your family and your employer.
  • The entire 18 weeks of PPL has to be taken within two years of birth or adoption.
  • Will come into effect in July 2020.

So you’re still able to take the entire 18 weeks as a block. Or you can opt to take the first 12 weeks and split the remaining six weeks as you and your employer decide. You could take a six-week block later on, or you could take it as a day or two a week over the course of a few months. Which would mean you’d work three or four days a week, be at home with bub one or two days a week and still get paid for a full five days.

What are the changes to the work test rules?

The reforms were announced by Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer, who’s also proposing tweaking the current rules around the eligibility work test for PPL.

Currently, to be eligible for PPL parents need to have worked at least 330 hours in 10 of the 13 months before their baby’s birth, with a break of no more than eight weeks between two working days. The Minister is proposing that break should be up 12 weeks and let new mums move their work test period if they had to stop work early following a workplace hazard.

The changes will need to pass Parliament, with Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek responding, “After five years of Liberal governments, Kelly O’Dwyer’s announcements today are too little, too late.”

Read next …

There’s so much to know about what you can claim on maternity leave and once bub is born. These articles are where you need to head next: