A fairer, more flexible and more generous Paid Parental Leave scheme for Australian families.

The Albanese Labor Government has today introduced legislation to reform Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme to ensure it better meets the needs of families.

Businesses, unions, experts and economists all understand that one of the best ways to boost productivity and participation is to provide more choice and more support for families – and more opportunity for women.

Investing in Paid Parental Leave benefits our economy and advances gender equality. The Albanese Government is committed to expanding Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks – a full six months.

The Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Improvements for Families and Gender Equality) Bill 2022 will implement the first tranche of the Government’s changes announced in the Budget.

Crucially, the Bill will give more families access to the Government payment, provides parents greater flexibility in how they take leave and encourages them to share care to support gender equality.

From 1 July 2023, the Bill delivers six key changes:

  • combining the two existing payments into a single 20 week scheme
  • reserving two weeks of the scheme for each parent to support them both to take time off work after birth or adoption
  • simplifying the claims process by removing the categories of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carers so it’s easier for parents to access the payment
  • expanding access by introducing a $350,000 family income test, under which people (including single parents) may qualify if they do not meet the $156,647 individual income test
  • increasing flexibility for parents to choose how they take paid parental leave days and transition back to work
  • allowing eligible fathers and partners to access the payment irrespective of whether the mother or birth parent meets the income test or residency requirements.

The Bill needs to pass the Parliament by March 2023 so parents expecting to give birth or adopt on or after 1 July next year have the option of pre-claiming to receive their Government entitlement as soon as they are eligible.

Labor will introduce further legislation to progressively increase the Paid Parental Leave scheme from July 2024, until it reaches 26 weeks in 2026 – a full six months. This is the largest expansion since Labor established the scheme in 2011.

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said around 180,000 families would benefit each year from a fairer, more flexible and more generous scheme.

“We know what happens when both parents are not supported to take time off paid work to care for their babies – usually Mum works much less, or leaves the workforce altogether to take on caring responsibilities, while Dad remains in full-time work,” Minister Rishworth said.

“This pattern persists for years after the child’s birth and is a key driver of gender gaps in workforce participation and earnings. 

“This Bill is good for parents, good for kids, good for employers and good for the economy.”

More information about the Government’s Paid Parental Leave changes can be found here.