Parents to benefit from Paid Parental Leave changes to support gender equality

The Albanese Labor Government has taken the next step in improving paid parental leave to ensure it is working for modern families.

The Senate today passed the Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender Equality) Bill 2022 which will support women’s workforce participation and help more dads and partners to take time off work to be with their children.

The Bill gives more families access to the payment, gives parents increased flexibility in how they take leave and encourages parents to share care to promote gender equality.

The changes will make it easier for parents to claim Parental Leave Pay, with either parent able to claim first. Parents will also be able to access the entitlement in multiple blocks, as small as one day, with periods of work in between.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the changes would deliver a single Paid Parental Leave scheme, with flexibility for parents.

“Improving paid parental leave is a critical, nation-building reform. Paid Parental Leave is vital for the health and wellbeing of parents and their children,” Minister Rishworth said.

“We know that investing in paid parental leave benefits our economy. And we know that done right, paid parental leave – both Government and employer schemes – can advance gender equality.

“Around 180,000 Australian families take up this benefit each year and they will now be able to share their entitlement in the way that best suits their circumstances.”

A new family income test of $350,000 per annum will also see nearly 3000 additional parents become eligible for the entitlement.

Employers will benefit from the increased flexibility for employees to balance work and care, and they will not face any new regulatory burden when administering the payment to their staff.

The changes will come into effect for parents whose children are born or adopted from 1 July 2023.

Single parents will now be able to receive the full 20-week entitlement, up from 18-weeks currently.

Parents can pre-claim up to three months before the expected date of birth or adoption so there is no delay to receiving payment. Pre-claims under the improved scheme will be open from the end of March.

The Government will bring forward additional legislation before July next year to increase the scheme to 26 weeks by 2026.

More information about the Government’s Paid Parental Leave changes can be found on the Department of Social Services website.