From 1 July 2020, the duration of parental leave payments is extended from 22 weeks to 26 weeks. Paid parental leave is intended to support families in the first months of their baby’s life.
Community and health organisations had advocated for 26 weeks for many years. World Health Organisation guidelines stress the importance of the first six months for babies to breastfeed and bond with parents. The evidence is clear that these six months are crucial for infant development.
There is no cap on the number of new mothers or primary carers the scheme is able to support. Everyone who qualifies is eligible to receive parental leave payments.
The maximum weekly rate for eligible parents increases from $585.80 to $606.46 gross to reflect the percentage movement in the average weekly earnings. The minimum payment rate for self-employed parents increases from $177.00 to $189.00 gross per week, which is equal to 10 hours of the current adult minimum wage.
From 1 July 2020, ‘Keeping in Touch’ days for employees increase from 52 hours to 64 hours over the duration of their paid parental leave.
Keeping in Touch days allow parents to perform occasional work while on parental leave, if they choose to and have obtained their employer’s consent. Keeping in Touch days help workers stay connected with their employer.